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Austin Introduces New Flood Safety Tools
Heavy downpours and raging rivers can be a recipe for a flood disaster. The rocky soil, steep terrain and intense weather patterns in Austin make the city especially prone to major flooding.
Lieutenant Travis Maher with the Austin Fire Department said when there are long periods of dry weather people tend to forget ways to avoid flood dangers.
"It's unbelievable how fast, number one it happens, and how much force is behind it," Maher said. "This is known as 'flash flood alley.' It's one of the most flood prone areas in the country, if not the world."
The City of Austin and other organizations introduced new flood prevention tools to keep the community safe in severe weather and warn of flood hazards.
The City of Austin currently has flashing warning lights covering 14 low water crossings.
When the warning lights are triggered that information is sent to the web site www.ATXFloods.com where the public can receive instant road closure information.
Travis Shunk, the City of Austin Flood Plan Administrator, said flooding is the top weather related cause of death in Texas, and 75 percent of those deaths happen in vehicles.
Shunk said Austin has 16 low water crossings that can flood with just an inch of rain upstream in an hour's time.
"In the end it's up to the driver to make the decision to turn around and find another route," Shunk said.
For a list of City of Austin low water crossing flashing warning light locations, go to http://www.keyetv.com/images/FlashingLightLocations.pdf.
By Cassie Gallo