First responders warn against driving in flooded areas


Douglass County, Ill. (WCIA) — Warmer winter temperatures earlier called for flooding instead of snowstorms, and some towns in Central Illinois were hit hard.

In Coles and Douglas counties, some streets were blocked off to keep people safe. Others were completely flooded from the heavy rainfall–roads and streets that some say look more like lakes.

First responders say this can be pretty dangerous and can lead to some frantic phone calls.

“A lot of ones we get are people not paying attention…driving in the water, and then we have to go get them out of the water,” says Captain Patrick Lake from the Villa Grove Fire Department.

Villa Grove put signs out to warn people of wet roads in the area.

In Charleston, the city blocked off west Hayes Avenue. This winding road is usually busy, but it’s completely covered here.

The fire department there prepared ahead of time to keep people safe.

“When we start getting reports that areas are flooded, we immediately contact our facilities department to make sure storm sewers and storm drains are open and flowing,” says Captain James Calvert of the Charleston Fire Department:

But they say even with that preparation, they will have to wait until water clears up on its own…and you should too.

“Turn around don’t drown. Don’t drive through any water that’s over the roadway,” says Calvert.

This is an example of that advice. First responders in assumption rescued a car in the water with 7 people inside. The Shelby County dive team had to come in with a boat to help get the car out of 2-feet-deep water.

First responders want people to avoid those scary situations.

“It only takes a couple of inches of moving water to sweep a vehicle off a roadway. It takes about a foot of water to float a vehicle. So, just because water is not moving doesn’t mean your vehicle can’t be swept away,” says Calvert.

Both fire departments are expecting calls with the rain turning into snow and the temperature drop turning wet roads into icy ones.

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