Flash flood chances could mean trouble on road

'Turn around' advice from rescuers could come in handy

SAN ANTONIO – Along with their remembering their rain boots and slickers, drivers on roads around San Antonio might be well served to remember a bit of advice from local rescuers: Turn around, don't drown.

A flash flood watch is in the forecast, from 6 p.m. Monday to noon Tuesday. That means the area could be hit with very heavy rain, possibly up to five inches in parts of the Hill Country.

"Every time it rains, water covers the bridge," said John LaFeber, who lives in a West side neighborhood where flooding is a problem, even during light rain. "There are people that try to cross it."

LaFeber shakes his head when he thinks about the risk he believes drivers are taking, trying to plow through high, and sometimes swift, water.

During one storm last October, firefighters had to pull a couple of people from an air mattress in a swollen creek near Rodriguez park. Others in the past have been rescued from their vehicles after they've tried to drive through and been swept away by sudden waves of water.

"They're not thinking or they just want to take a chance.  They don't realize that they could lose their life, crossing like that," LaFeber said.

His observation mirrors the message rescuers have been trying to drive home to motorists.  Instead of taking the risk, they said, it's better for drivers to find another way around the area in question.

The city of San Antonio recently installed gates and/or flashing lights at 40 low water crossings, and drainage work is underway to address flooding in other areas.

Still, rescuers said individual citizens have to do their part to ensure their own safety.