Flash Flooding Means Driving Dangers

Monday afternoon's downpour in Tyler kept police busy. Rising waters overflowed creeks and drainage systems, leading to rushing rivers where the roads should be.

"On one side, you don't see anything," says Tyler Police Seargent, Gary Rice. "You may top the hill and on the other side, and there's water across the road. So, at that point in time you need to make a judgement call about whether or not it's safe to go across."

Much of the ground in East Texas is now covered with standing water. Any more rain we receive won't be able to be absorbed into the soil. It will start to run across the surface instead. And if the ground is higher than the road, it won't take much to turn the street into a stream.

"Water can take your vehicle and pick it up and float it," says Rice. "So, if you're going across it you think, oh my car is heavy and it will stay on the road. No, that water picks it up."

On Tuesday morning, the waters presented yet another hazard. The section of Skidmore Road over Shackleford Creek is a road no more. The force of the flood washed out the clay beneath the pavement.

"We put out cones, baracades, get the streets department to bring us more barracades, and don't let people drive in those areas,." says Sgt. Rice.

The National Weather Service says floods are more deadly than tornados or lightning. In recent years, the only weather events which have matched the death toll of floods are heat waves.  And half of the flash flooding deaths involved people in vehicles trying to cross water covered roads. Police say the best adivice is if you see water rushing over the road don't try to drive across, because you may end up floating away.

Stephen Parr, reporting.