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Flooded roads? Officials say don't risk it - KOAM TV 7

Flooded roads? Officials say don't risk it

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Heavy rains have caused several roads in throughout the area to close because of flooding.  The closures prompted emergency managers to issue an important reminder to people.  Officials say every once in a while someone seems to forget common sense.

"For the human being, six inches of running water is sufficient enough to knock you off your feet," says Joplin Emergency Manager Keith Stammer.  "For a vehicle, two feet of stagnant water will float you.  In many cases one foot of running water can break traction and actually sweep you downstream."

Wednesday morning a gate was closed on North Murphy Boulevard west of Main Street in Joplin.  No one could go down the road because further down it was flooded.

The city's public works department and police are in charge of closing roads when they are flooded or near flooded.  It's a job they can't take lightly because what may seem safe to many isn't always the case.

Stammer says it's important to turn around if a road is flooded because parts of the road may have washed away.

And just because the rain stops doesn't mean the danger has.

"Around here water flows north to south - so sometime this afternoon, it may very well be that the birds are singing and the sun is shining and people think that it's over - not so - that water is still flowing down to us from the north," says Stammer.

A native Californian, Lesley Graham says meteorology became her hobby after moving to Joplin.

"The weather at times gets to me and makes me a little spooky," says Graham.

Just down the road from where she lives a bridge was closed, forcing Graham and others to take a long but worthwhile detour.

"I would rather someone turn around and be safe than to have somebody crash their car," says Graham.

Residents in the area can't remember the last time someone was seriously hurt by crossing the bridge on Murphy Boulevard when it's covered with water, and Stammer says there's been no recent deaths either.

He says the key to keeping that trend will be reminders to the public.

"Fortunately, I think our citizens our paying attention to that old saying that's true - 'turn around don't drown,'" says Stammer.

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