The Delaware County Emergency Management Agency is keeping an eye on roadways this week after several were closed Wednesday due to flooding.
The EMA reported Wednesday afternoon that the heavy rain and resulting high water had closed the road between State Route 257 and Hoskins Road, State Route 257 and Radnor Road, and Horseshoe Road and State Route 229.
EMA officials said signs will be posted on the roads when high water is a concern — and urged drivers not to ignore the signs.
Sean Miller, director of the EMA, said people have ignored these signs, driven into high water and were stranded when their vehicles stall out. Miller said those scenarios then require emergency personnel to retrieve the stranded drivers, which can be very dangerous.
“Consider not only your safety but the safety of those coming to get you,” Miller said.
Miller added that ignoring these signs is now considered a misdemeanor offense after an Ohio firefighter perished trying to rescue someone who ignored a high water warning.
The misdemeanor “operation of vehicle on roadway covered in water” charge can result in a fine or jail time.
The EMA and the National Weather Service are urging drivers to “Turn Around Don’t Drown” when they encounter these situations.
The EMA reports it only takes six inches of swiftly moving water to knock an adult off his/her feet.
The principle is the same with vehicles, that can be stalled or carried away with just two feet of moving water.
Miller stressed that even trucks and SUVs can be carried away, regardless of size.
“No one is exempt from these warnings,” Miller said.
Miller said that it’s also dangerous to drive in water if you cannot see the roadway because the heavy rain and currents may have eroded parts of the road, making them unsafe.
Miller said emergency personnel here have had to rescue someone from a high water situation once every year or two.
Miller said that if your car is caught in a high water area and you are stranded, you should call 911 immediately.
To prevent this, the EMA posts updates on social media to keep users informed of dangerous weather or road closings. They also recommend checking the National Weather Service’s site, weather.gov, for up-to-date information.
The EMA also recommends Delaware County residents sign up for its CodeRED system, which will notify you via phone of a tornado or weather emergency.
Residents may sign up online at delcoema.org. You will need to provide a name, address and telephone number.
Miller said the EMA is watching Tropical Storm Bill as remnants head to Ohio this weekend, but she said she hopes it will miss Delaware County.
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