Flood waters continue to prove deadly for Tennesseans after a Van Buren County man died Wednesday.
Heavy rain produced flood waters that claimed the life of a man, while his wife was sent to Erlanger.
Van Buren County EMS director Tiwanna Bricker sent the Southern Standard the official press release.
“We can confirm there was one fatality Wednesday night due to the flooding. A vehicle was washed off the Mooneyham Lone-wood Road at a small branch that was swollen with flood waters. There were two occupants. One was rescued and taken by ambulance to Erlanger Bledsoe ED. The other occupant drowned in the flood waters. That person was recovered Wednesday night. Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department are investigating.”
Flood waters have devastated Tennessee this year, resulting in 28 fatalities at the end of September, according to WKRN. That includes 21 who were killed during one flood in the Waverly area in August.
On average, 94 people in the U.S. die every year in flood waters, according to the National Weather Service.
The deadly situation in Van Buren County was created by 6.9 inches of rain that fell over the course of one short day in that area.
“The water started rising very high and the vehicle tried to cross,” said Bricker when contacted by the Standard. “As we have not yet talked to the survivor, we are assuming it was rising faster than they realized. We want to remind everyone to Turn Around, Don’t Drown. It’s a national slogan, but it’s so true.”
Since about half of all flood deaths stem from situations where motorists try to drive through high water, avoiding flooded roadways is the No. 1 tip to flash flood survival. Weather experts says motorists commonly think they can simply drive thru high water until it’s too late.
If your vehicle is overtaken, tip No. 2 is to get out before the car fills with water, according to ABC News. This includes rolling down your windows as quickly as possible because the electrical system is likely to fail.
Tip No. 3 is to climb to the roof of your vehicle because that will be your safest spot and also the place where you’re most visible. Stay on the roof as long as possible.
As for surviving flood waters outside a vehicle ABC News advises to get to high ground as soon as possible and to avoid wading into any fast-moving water that’s above your ankles. It’s easy to underestimate the power of fast-moving water and to get swept off your feet.