Firefighters Warn to Avoid Water Covered Roads

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BOONE COUNTY - After water swept a Columbia woman's SUV from the road early Wednesday morning, firefighters urged caution to drivers.

At around 3 a.m., more than 60 firefighters rescued the woman from a gravel road west of Highway 63. Water pressure from a rushing creek carried her vehicle off the path toward her house and pushed the car over a small drop in the creek where it got stuck.

Captain John Metz of the Columbia Fire Department said his agency didn't respond to any other incidents of vehicles stuck in water Wednesday. However, he urged drivers to take personal responsibility for avoiding roads covered in water, even if there isn't signs or barricades to stop them.

"They should always turn around, don't drown. The reason for that is the water over the roadway can be deceptive. You can't tell how fast the water's moving, you can't tell how deep it is, and you can't tell the condition of the roadway beneath the water," said Metz.

Often, Metz said, water-covered areas aren't even located near rivers or in particularly low-lying spots. Metz said the department has even done water rescues in spots like Providence and Business Loop 70 in Columbia.

Metz said flash floods kill an average of 100 people each year in the U.S., more than hurricanes, lightning and tornados combined. Half of those deaths are people in vehicles.

To find up-to-the-minute information on road conditions and closings due to high water in your area, visit MODOT's traveler information map.