JOPLIN, MO.--- It's Severe Weather Awareness Week and it's not just about preparing for tornadoes. More fatalities occur in floods than any other natural disaster. That's why officials say you should always take extra precaution when water fills the roadways.
"Nationally, flooding is the number one killer in weather-related events," said Keith Stammer, Jasper County Emergency Management Director.
Most flooding in Jasper County happens around low water bridges, which is why emergency officials are warning those in the area to pay close attention to road conditions during severe weather.
"The main thing here is to be aware. Turn around, don't drown. Most of the water in this area flows from north to south, which means it doesn't really have to rain here. It can rain well north of us and all of a sudden you can find that the water has overflowed the bridges," said Stammer.
It doesn't take much to lose control when water takes over the roadway.
"It only takes six inches of water to sweep you off your feet and two feet of water to sweep you off the bridge. If that happens, your car goes off the bridge, the water goes down and you find yourself in trouble," said Stammer.
Authorities say they do everything they can to block off areas that are unsafe to travel on, but there are always drivers who cross the line and find themselves in a dangerous situation.
"Do not go through the barrier. It's there for a reason. We realize you've probably driven over it a thousand times, but that one time, it doesn't take much water to push you off," said Stammer.
Officials say you should immediately dial 911 if flood waters take control of your vehicle. They add, it's always important to know where you're located so they can respond as quick as possible.
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