NOAA 2004-R285
Contact: Greg Romano

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The NOAA National Weather Service Office in Las Vegas has teamed with Lowe’s Home Improvement-sponsored NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and KVVU Fox 5 News to prepare an important public service message that will be seen and heard throughout the region this summer. The Turn Around, Don't Drown™ campaign is designed to enhance public awareness of the dangers of driving or walking into flooded areas. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Through accurate and timely NWS warnings and our aggressive public education efforts, we are working to make swift water rescues and flood related deaths a thing of the past in our area,” said Andy Bailey, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Las Vegas.

The Busch PSA is one aspect of the national campaign, a joint effort by NOAA’s National Weather Service and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. The local TADD public outreach campaign features 30-second TV and radio public service announcements. In addition, area new-car dealers will distribute 150,000 flood safety flash cards provided by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. Anderson Dairy will include flash flood safety information on more than 100,000 milk cartons this summer.

Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch has been the top-finishing rookie in 12 out of 13 NASCAR events this year and is featured in the public service message.

“Some people say driving a race car can be risky, but there’s one risk I’d never take on the road. I’d never try to drive my car through flood waters,” says Busch in the PSA. “If you encounter a flooded roadway, do like the National Weather Service and turn around, don’t drown.”

National Weather Service storm data records that show 3,192 people died in floods between 1974 and 2003, an average of 106 deaths per year. During the same period, lightning claimed 2,002 lives (67 per year), tornadoes killed 1,935 (65 per year) and hurricanes killed 421 people (14 per year). The records also indicate 80 percent of the flooding deaths resulted when people drove or walked into moving water.

"When we were designing this safety campaign, we decided to start with the hometown angle, and we are thankful that Kyle, Hendricks Motorsports and Lowe’s were so helpful in bringing this important message to the public. We hope the Las Vegas public service announcement will help us with the national TADD campaign in future years. With the growing popularity of NASCAR as a spectator sport, we want to carry the flash flood awareness message to as many people as possible,” Bailey said.

“It only takes six inches of moving water to sweep someone off their feet and 24 inches to float most vehicles,” said Kim Runk, meteorologist-in-charge at the Las Vegas NWS weather forecast office. “People who walk or drive into moving water not only risk their own lives, but also the lives of those who try to rescue them.”

"'Turn Around, Don't Drown' is a message every driver and pedestrian needs to heed," added retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Efforts like these to bring the message to Americans are critically important, and we applaud Kyle Busch for helping the National Weather Service spread the word."

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather and flood forecasts and warnings, and weather, water and climate information for the United States and its territories. NOAA's National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:

"Turn Around, Don't Drown":

NOAA National Weather Service:

NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Las Vegas:

MP3 of Public Service Announcement: