Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. 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. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in cars swept downstream. Many of these drownings are preventable. Never drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. The road may have collapsed under that water. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars and just 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most SUVs and trucks.
Because it is never safe to drive through flood waters, the National Weather Service has adopted the saying, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
A flood tragedy helped make the slogan a catchy tune. Country music artist Matias F. Villarreal was born in Eagle Pass and raised in Lytle, Texas. He is proud of his birth name and Hispanic heritage, but is also happy to be known as “Matt Hawk” by his fans, friends and family. Influenced by many styles of music ranging from International Spanish, Tejano, Blues, Classic Country, Top 40 Country, & Texas Music, these genres all became influences for his fun and engaging style of music. In May of 2015 tragedy struck close to home in nearby Devine, Texas. A high school student drowned while driving home after attending prom. Matt decided to take action and create a song to bring greater awareness to the dangers of driving through flooded roadways. His hopes are to positively influence all who might listen. This led to the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” jingle. He donated the lyrics and music to NOAAs National Weather Service and performed the jingle as a produced music video public service announcement, available in both English and Spanish.
Yes, it may be corny, but it’s catchy too!
And it could save your life: this video from the NWS reminds you to always turn around, don’t drown; NEVER drive through flood waters!
Weatherboy is a proud ambassador of the National Weather Service’s Weather Ready Nation program! pic.twitter.com/qqr6TugE65
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) July 10, 2018