A storm in New Mexico created an incredible scene in October, with drivers navigating “rivers of hail.”
KRQE News 13 chief meteorologist Grant Tosterud shared a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, from Dorothea Delgado that showed debris covering a road and a small river full of hail running alongside it.
While maneuvering through the dangerous conditions, the driver of the car in which the video was shot said: “It’s flooding. I don’t think I can go up this way.”
That is one of the keys to safety in flooding events: Turn around; don’t drown. It takes only a foot of water to sweep a car off a road, and it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s under the water — or even whether the road is still there.
“Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard,” according to the National Weather Service. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.”
Walking into or near flood waters is the second-leading cause of death in storm events because “people underestimate the force and power of water,” per NWS.
Drivers should never bypass barriers on a flooded road, as it takes just six inches of fast-moving water to knock over an adult and only 12 inches to carry away most cars. SUVs and trucks can be overcome by two feet of rushing water.
This is vital information, as the warming of the planet has caused increasingly severe rain events. That’s because the air can hold more moisture.
“A 1 degree centigrade increase in the atmosphere’s temperature corresponds to a 7 percent increase in water vapor that it’s able to hold, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions,” Vox reported.
“Heavy rain in mountains causes a lot more problems than big snow, including flooding, landslides and erosion, scientists said,” Seth Borenstein wrote. “And the rain is not conveniently stored away like snowpack that can recharge reservoirs in spring and summer.”
And the Environmental Defense Fund noted “roads, sidewalks, buildings, shipping canals, dams, and agricultural practices have eliminated many natural landscape features that would otherwise slow rainwater’s path across the land and absorb it deeply underground.”
So, follow the cue of this cautious driver who looked to avoid that high water.
“The black black sky is so ominous too, like you’d better expect something big and icy to come out of it,” one commenter said on Tosterud’s post.
Another advised: “Beware, hail is [more] slippery than snow. Your car will just start floating out of control.”
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