Nobody wants soggy socks

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Means
  • 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Many newcomers to Holloman may not ever think that flooding would affect New Mexico's Tularosa Basin between the Sacramento and San Andreas mountain ranges.

What they don't know is that flooding is the nation's number one disaster and a coast-to-coast threat in the United States and its territories in all months of the year.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, all floods are not alike. Some can build up slowly, at times over a period of days, while flash flooding can develop quickly in a few minutes even without any noticeable sign of rain. Flash floods frequently have a hazardous wall of roaring water that may have rocks, mud and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path.

Flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups. Once a car is swept downstream it will usually roll on its side or flip over entirely. The driver has a few precious seconds to escape the vehicle. Nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related, according to the 49th Fighter Wing Safety Office.

Arroyos are common in this area and are something to be wary of when driving in heavy rains, said Gabriel Desmare, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental engineer. An arroyo is a dry creek bed that will fill with water after heavy rains.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, especially in low-lying areas or near water. Small steams, gullies, creeks, dry streambeds and low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.

"A lot of people find out that there home is in a flood zone the hard way," said Mr. Desmare. "Before you buy or rent a home find out if it is a flood zone and prepare for the rainy season."

New Mexico's "wet" season is approaching, and although the air and ground may be dry now, that can quickly change. Be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws this way by heeding the tips on Holloman's Flood Safety Factsheet.

The factsheet also informs property owners and renters on what they need to know and the they can take steps to protect their property and financial security before disaster strikes.

For more information on flood safety, contact the 49th FW Safety Office at 575-572-3793.