Greensboro swift water rescue saves drivers in I-40 flash flooding
Updated: 07/10/2012 05:56 PM
By: Amanda McKenzie
GREENSBORO -- Cars on Interstate 40 at the airport exit were almost completely submerged Monday night. The water level rose within minutes.
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The Greensboro Fire Department's swift water rescue team took to a raft, paddling through the flood to make sure no one was still inside the stranded cars.
"Never drive into it," Battalion Chief Robert Toler said. "We like to use the adage, 'Turn around don't drown.'"
The rescue team stayed busy and on alert. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported during the storm or after.
The swift water rescue team said most of their work involves checking abandoned cars on the roadways. They said in a flash flood it only takes one foot of water to put both your car and your life in danger.
"You no longer have any control and once it starts sinking, it's going to sink engine first, and it's easily going to go down fairly quickly," Toler said.
Being exposed to the cold rain water can also put you at risk for hypothermia.
"A lot of people don't think about it when it's really hot out," fireman Mark Smith said. "You're hot, but it's still cool below the water."
"There's all kinds of dangers in flash flooding," Toler said. "Contaminants off the roadways. There's things that can be swept off the road. There's road signs. Debris you can't see."
So looking ahead to a week of potentially severe weather, the swift water rescue team is taking note of the recent flood areas and have their paddles ready.