Thursday, May 14, 2015


                                                    Henry Ford

     The middle of a drought is a great time to see that common sense is not so common.  Because there is generally some fast moving storms that come through and create flash floods.  This is when men's mentality seems to be challenged.
      If you have been raised in the middle of the Great Plains as I have, flash floods means fast moving water.  Fast moving water means that roads that once were there at some point will not be.
      The Weather Service, Emergency Management, DOT, Sheriff, Police, and news media constantly say never drive into water that you cannot see the bottom of, or fast flowing.  Yet on the internet there are scenes of fire trucks, military trucks, and other vehicle's driving through flooded areas.
     One shows a fire truck driving through 11 feet of water.  Water literally over the windshield wipers.  You might fail to notice that it is an Australian truck and the crew pops out the back jump seats when it starts flooding the compartment.  Even with air intakes high if I would have pulled a stunt like that my chief would have strapped me to the tail board for life, (nobody is allowed to ride tail board anymore).
     Another video shows a military 6x6 driving through 7 feet of water but it is in Louisiana in standing water with no current.  But you still don't know if the road is still there or not.  There are other videos but it can lead to people doing dumb things. 
      I worked a flood years ago and I was in charge of the rescue boat.  The area we needed to get into was relatively shallow for 3/4 of a mile.  We did tow the boat to that point before boating on to the house.  An auxiliary Chief turned off the road we were on and tried to drive through a cross current.  His Jeep was about 60 degrees in the air front down.  I tried to use a fence post to determine the depth of the washout off the hood and did not find bottom.  When the water went down the washout was about 12 feet.
     I know that it is fun to take the four wheel drives and see what all you can put them into as a kid, but as getting out and having to get pulled out got less fun, I don't do those things anymore.  I did go out one time when a river was overflowing and my vehicle was pretty heavy, so I thought.  In six inches of fast flowing water I almost was swept away and I could see the pavement all the way.  It was not a close call I want to do again.
      One more thing that I have tried to tell people never to do is drive into smoke.  This is very common during spring, after wheat harvest, and during drought.  The folks learned this the hard way when they turned down a road and got caught in heavy smoke from a grassfire.  They knew they did not want to be there and it was too late.  So was the pickup that they met midway.  Both of their mirrors were left on the road and know one went back to get them.
      I was caught in a blizzard going to pick up a friend to take to Wichita for an urgent doctor visit.  The highway was opened but was blowing bad in several places.  Being caught behind a line of traffic that was moving even more slowly than I thought was necessary I found a little car who never should have been out in the snow and wind.  Some vehicles just should be left sitting.  In a passing area I tried to overtake the car by passing a semi.  I was doing real good until headlights popped up in front of me and I could not slow down enough to get between but had to just plunge off the side in the ditch.  I was able to keep moving and get back up on the road when the others were past, but it was too close a call.  I am calling it a brain fart but it was plain stupid.
      We are now in tornado season and the urge for many who have no business chasing tornados are getting out with the actual chasers and creating traffic hazards.  Recently the Sheriff came on the radio and just declared a traffic jam west of town.  Ordering vehicle's further off the road he was ignored.  Then came under criticism for being grouchy.  Well if you remember a professional chaser was killed near El Reno Oklahoma not that long ago.  Use a little sense and don't create problems when it is a deadly serious situation.  A picture is not worth it.
     Which calls to mind the KANSAS TORNADO SHELTERING TECHNIQUE.  Which is, grab a beer, lawn chair, and video camera and tell the family to get downstairs.

No comments:

Post a Comment