Office of Emergency Management: Pax River Flooding Possible After Duckett’s Dam Release

The Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has issued an alert for county residents:

This is a message from the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood [watch] for Anne Arundel County from late Thursday, May 15 until 6 p.m. Friday, May 16. Showers, thunderstorms with potential heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding and could occur without warning along rivers, streams and roadways.

Special attention to residents along the Patuxent River as gates at Duckett’s Dam (in Laurel) have been opened in anticipation of the storm. 2 to 4 inches of rainfall is expected. Avoid low lying areas that are prone to flooding. Never walk or drive through moving water. Stay tuned to radio or TV for updates concerning rain and flooding. If you experience any type of emergency please call 911 immediately.

Barricades are set up to indicate where the floodwaters begin.

A Flash Flood Watch means that there is the potential for flash flooding. This is a serious threat to people, property and vehicles. You should monitor forecasts and have an action plan should a Flash Flood Warning be issued.

A warning could mean that we have moved to a flooding situation in a specific area.

The National Weather Service alert indicates that showers and scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop this evening and continue into Friday afternoon. The heaviest rain amounts will be late Thursday through midday Friday.

If you see flooded roadways, contact law enforcement to relay reports so that the roads can be closed and monitored.

‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’

Driving into flood waters is so common that the National Weather Service (NWS), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have a campaign, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” where they urge drivers to heed flood warnings, road closures and barricades.

The CDC reports that up to half of flood deaths occur when people drive their cars into hazardous flood waters. The CDC said that the next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is from people walking into or near swift-moving flood waters.

NOAA’s report said that many people believe their 3,000 pound vehicle will keep them safe. It doesn’t. That is because all those pounds can’t overcome buoyancy, or the tendency of a fluid (water) to exert an upward force on a body (your car) submerged in it.

It’s plain old physics.

If you think about it, we all know that heavy things can float. An aircraft carrier, nearly 100,000 tons, floats as do cargo ships. Both are heavy but perfectly buoyant.

So what happens to a car in flood waters? First, the car is lifted by buoyancy. In just 6 to 8 inches of floodwater, buoyancy begins to eliminate the friction that brakes need in order to work. For each foot in water depth, a car displaces about 1,500 pounds of water. So by two feet, your 3,000-pound car is now a boat. Albeit a boat that can’t steer and is at the mercy of the current, which, during storms and flash flooding, can move swiftly.

So, the next time you have the urge to “save time” by ignoring road closures and flood waters—turn around. Don’t drown.



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About Mitchelle Stephenson

I've gotta tell Mitchelle! Send your South County news tips, brag on your fab volunteers, talk traffic, police and fire or just say "howdy" to Mitchelle Stephenson, co-founding editor of the South River Source. or reach me in person on mobile: 410-353-4706.

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