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Threatening weather demands Texans’ caution

 

Catastrophic weather predicted for the Mid Atlantic states ought not divert Texans’ attention from bad weather headed toward this state.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana, says heavy rainfall will cut across Texas and Louisiana late this week. As storms go, it’s no Hurricane Florence, but expect trouble nonetheless.

The Texas Department of Public Safety this week was urging motorists here to drive

cautiously during heavy rainstorms and to beware of flooded areas — especially at night.

Flash flooding, DPS said, is the No. 1 weather-related killer in Texas and more than half of all flash-flood fatalities nationwide involve vehicles. When DPS says “Turn around; don’t drown,” the department knows what it is talking about. Don’t drive through flooded roadways.

DPS also offered these safe-driving tips, and we urge readers to pay heed. Here is the issued tip sheet:

  • Even in relatively shallow water, tires can act as flotation devices, lifting up big vehicles and sending them downstream. It takes only 2 feet of water to float a 3,000-pound car.
  • Beware that water covering roadways may hide washed-out bridges or gouged-out roadbeds. If you attempt to drive across, you may not be driving on a road.
  • If you are in a low-lying area when flooding is occurring, get to higher ground quickly.
  • Do not attempt to cross flooded roads or streams on foot. It can take as little as 6 inches of moving water to knock an adult off his or her feet. Furthermore, water may be flowing more rapidly than it appears.
  • Never allow children to play near ditches or storm drains.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle — complete with flares or light roadway safety triangles, a flashlight, a raincoat, cell phone charger, and other essentials such as required medications.
  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions in Texas, visit https://drivetexas.org.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters on a Wednesday conference call from Washington that the Senate was watching Hurricane Florence’s progress, as it threatened to become the “storm of a lifetime.” He said waves could rise to 83 feet.

Cornyn said Texans, who weathered Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey in 2017, should “wish all of our friends in the Carolinas and in that part of the country well.” He was following the tropical disturbances in the Gulf of Mexico, which threaten Texas and could “exacerbate flooding.” He suggested that all Texans “exercise caution.”

As people who know well the dangers of hurricanes and related storms and the hardships that can follow, people in this area ought to wish our East Coast countrymen well. Prayers help. So does generosity to responding agencies.

The next few days may be perilous for us and for our countrymen.

Be careful.