Flooding deaths highest in Texas - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Flooding deaths highest in Texas

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Texas has the highest number of flooding deaths in the country.
Last year half of the deaths in Texas were in Travis County.
As a result, first responders are preparing for disaster before it strikes.

Every moment counts; especially since Austin is in the heart of flash flood alley.
The danger lies with the area's rocky and hilly terrain, plus potential for heavy rainfall.
Austin-Travis County EMS Captain Jim Martin says it can quickly become a life-threatening situation.
"Within probably 2 or 3 seconds of hitting the water, I had been swept off the road and I was in the creek," says Captain Jim Martin, Austin-Travis County EMS.
Someone who normally does the saving, actually needed to be saved.
It was last October when Martin almost lost his life.
"First thirty seconds to a minute I was in total disbelief. Then I came to the realization I was probably going to die. Then when my jeep hit a tree and stopped, I figured I had a chance. When I finally got into the tree and realized the tree was solid, I knew I was going to live," says Martin.
That story is repeated all too often.
There were 12 flooding deaths in the Texas last year, six of them were in Travis County, according to the National Weather Service.
"The majority of the deaths that occur from flooding are from people driving into flooded roads. At night especially, it's very difficult to see the road, to gauge how deep the water is," says Meteorologist Joe Ariano, National Weather Service.
First responders train year-round on how to rescue people out of floodwaters by boat and helicopter.
Saturday they put their skills to use at Lady Bird Lake.
They also hope residents will do their part.
"Keep your head up, make sure you can contact 911, stay in your vehicle as long as possible if you're swept off the road. That vehicle is going to protect you as you move down-stream. Then at the last second, when there's no other choice, then get out of your vehicle and up into a tree," says Battalion Chief Palmer Buck, Austin Fire Department.
Residents are also encouraged to protect their home.
Nearly one-thousand families in Austin are still feeling the effects of the Halloween floods.
During the Memorial Day flood in 1981, there was an estimated
$35-million worth of damage.
ATXFLOODS.com is a tool designed to help you choose the best route before driving during a storm.
It was launched last year and will soon be expanded to include surrounding cities in the Central Texas area.

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