Most days, we would hardly notice that empty drainage ditch in the backyard, the nearby babbling creek or the normally calm and gentle flow of water on the Susquehanna River.
But tomorrow, we all must keep our eyes and full attention on all of these and any other drainage areas as the remnants of Hurricane Ida makes its way across the Northeast with widespread heavy rain.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for 8 a.m. Wednesday through 8 a.m. Thursday as the remains of what was a powerful hurricane move through.
AccuWeather, based in State College, is forecasting about six inches of rain for the Central Susquehanna Valley, three inches during the day Wednesday and three inches overnight into Thursday morning.
That is a significant amount of rainfall — enough to turn even the most calm and quiet waterways into raging destructive and yes, deadly forces, experts note.
Those who live in areas prone to flooding know this drill all too well. Armed with numbers recorded in past high-water events, they will be watching every inch of rainfall, every half inch of rise in water levels and taking appropriate action.
But with so much rain coming so quickly, all of us must be vigilant and cautious as we drive and move around this week.
Within minutes, or even seconds, water flows can turn a road, street or sidewalk into a deadly hazard. The National Weather Service reports that each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood waters.
It may not seem possible, but it’s true — a mere six 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 24 inches of water to move SUVs and trucks.
That’s why the National Weather Service warns: “Turn around, don’t drown. It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.”
The best things we can do as the remnants of Ida pass through this week include being aware, prepared, vigilant and cautious, respecting the power of Mother Nature and following all of the recommendations and advisories issued to help us stay safe.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.