The City of Gainesville Emergency Management Division has released a reminder for the public to note Flood Safety Awareness Week, which is Monday through Friday.

With heavy rains and strong winds projected to move through portions of Texas during the next few days, the Department of Public Service (DPS) and the National Weather Service are urging people to avoid low water crossings or driving on flooded roadways.

“Since the state has experienced significant drought conditions during the last year, many Texans may not be concerned about the threat of flooding,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “However, it is important to remember that flooding can occur quickly and cause life-threatening situations, so when water is running across a road, drivers should turn their car around and choose a different road, which will save their lives and their vehicle.”

More than 50 percent of flood-related drownings are vehicle related. Nearly eight out of 10 vehicle-related flood fatalities in Texas occur in the dark — between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. More than two-thirds of flood-related drownings in Texas happen due to flash floods. Flash flooding involves rising waters that can rapidly become much deeper as a car attempts to cross a flooded area of a street or roadway. Driving at night makes these situations even worse because visibility is limited, and it is especially difficult to judge how deep the water may be. Only six inches of water can cause tires to lose traction and begin to slide, and 12 inches of water can float many cars.

The City of Gainesville has been affected by the toll that flooding can take, particularly with the floods in 2007 and 2009. “Saving your life — and your car — is as simple as choosing a different route when you see water across a roadway,” said Tamara Sieger, City of Gainesville emergency management officer.

During Flood Awareness Week, residents are also reminded of the City of Gainesville’s “Code Red” system which is utilized to keep citizens informed in the event of a severe weather or flooding event. Residents may register for this free service by visiting www.gainesville.tx.us/.

For more information on flooding preparedness or to register for Code Red by telephone, call (940)668-7777, ext. 731.

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