21/02/2013 - Take care on flooded roads

Driver reminder to take caution on flooded roads
People travelling through the North West are being reminded by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to take care on flooded roads to avoid putting themselves in danger.   DFES Superintendent Pilbara John Newman said floodways and river levels rose rapidly during the wet season and could easily wash away a vehicle so people needed to be careful.   “The Pilbara and Kimberley are currently experiencing storms and increased rainfall which is a reminder that people must take care when travelling on wet roads,” he said.   “Seasonal rain can fall anywhere, anytime. One minute the roads are dry and the next they are very wet, slippery and potentially life threatening to people not paying attention.”


 
People have come to serious harm for failing to follow warnings when attempting to travel through floodwaters. Some have drowned after becoming trapped in their vehicles, while others have washed away in rapid waters or suffered serious injuries from hidden debris.    “It is important that people obey road closure signs and don’t drive into water of unknown depth and current, as this can be life threatening,” Mr Newman said.    “In remote regions in particular, take care on gravel and unsealed roads as the last thing you want is to get bogged.”
 
Last month, Tropical Cyclone (TC) Peta brought daily falls of over 100 millimetres to the Pilbara region, leaving a large amount of water over the roads.   The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advises a tropical low will strengthen off the North West coast and is likely to develop into a tropical cyclone over the weekend.  The system could affect people in both the Pilbara and the western Kimberley and has the potential for a severe coastal impact.   To date there have been three tropical cyclones off Western Australia including TC Mitchell that passed to the west in December. TC Mitchell was followed by TC Narelle that tracked parallel to the coast in mid January.
 
State Emergency Service (SES) has these tips for people travelling through cyclone or flood prone areas:

  • Prepare a plan for your family on what to do if a cyclone approaches
  • Check your emergency kit is complete and includes a first aid kit, torch, battery operated portable radio, spare batteries, water bottles, non-perishable food, a portable cooking devices and special needs for pets
  • Fill your vehicle’s fuel tank
  • Carry extra food and water when travelling in case of long delays at crossings
  • Place boats, caravans and vehicles in sheds or secure them with correct cyclone tie down procedures
  • Never walk, swim or play in floodwaters, as they are dangerous
  • Watch for changes in water levels so you are ready if you need to relocate.

 For more helpful tips to stay safe, you can find a Cyclone Smart or Flood Smart kit at your local SES unit or for more information visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au.