The Washington Post

Video: Man drives into flash flood, (unsurprisingly) gets stuck in surging water


If you needed another example of why you should turn around (don’t drown) when you approach a flooded roadway, let this be it.

The intersection of States Avenue and Platteville Boulevard  in Pueblo West, Co. flooded over the weekend after heavy rain. The video begins as a large truck makes it across the flooded road. As the truck moves through the high water, it becomes apparent that this roadway river is surging quickly.

The folks behind the camera, who are patiently waiting for the water to recede before crossing, yell “don’t do it!” as a small car approaches the flooded roadway.  What happens next is easy to guess — the car gets picked up by the water and begins to float downstream. “There it goes,” the videographer says, as rain is pouring down.

Fortunately for the driver of the tiny car, it before being completely washed from the roadway. However, now there’s a driver stuck in the flood, which means other people will have to put themselves at risk to get him out.

The driver of a large pickup truck backs toward the car in order to provide the stranded driver an escape. He climbs out of his car’s window onto the bed of the truck while the people with the camera call 911 to inform police of the situation.

Once the police arrive, the driver is still doing exactly what he shouldn’t be doing — futzing around outside of the car in the water, trying to undo his first mistake.  The truck ends up hauling the tiny car out of the flood and as the driver opens the door, muddy water pours from the inside of his car. Surely he is cursing himself for driving across the flood in the first place. “I wish we could have gotten you out quicker,” says the driver of the truck.

The man in the small car was very lucky. Things could have gone differently for him. They call it flash flooding for a reason — you might think you can walk or drive through a flooded area and emerge on the other side unscathed, but in a flash, water can surge and carry you (and the people who have come to rescue you) away.

It only takes a foot of water to float many vehicles, and two feet of rushing water will carry most cars away, including pick-up trucks and SUVs.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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Angela Fritz · August 11, 2014

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