Don't pass barricades at flooded low water crossings, officials say

With the area expecting more rain this week and weekend, local law enforcement is reminding people about the dangers of crossing flooded low water crossings, which not only puts people in danger but is also illegal.

FOX 7 Austin crews caught on camera people passing barricades and crossing the flooded low water crossing at Memorial Park in Round Rock.

"The extra five minutes you take to go around that area and find a safer way across could not only save your life but also save the life of a first responder," said Commander James David with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.

David said the barricades seen through the county, following Tuesday’s heavy rain, are there for a reason. "If you cut across those barricades then you are going to receive a citation from one of our deputies and if it results in our personnel having to go out and rescue, there could be additional charges as well," he said.

It doesn’t take a lot of rushing water to sweep someone away. The National Weather Service reports about six inches can knock over an adult on foot and one foot of water can carry away an entire car. It also takes much less to have a vehicle hydroplane.

With more rain in the forecast, emergency crews are getting prepared for the areas which are known to flood. 

"Our first response is of course our patrol deputies, they are the first responders along with the fire department who get called out to these areas. We try to be proactive about it, we know the areas that will usually start to flood once we get that certain amount of rainfall threshold. We will deploy assets such as barricades in most positions," said David.

For those who decide to not heed the warnings, WCSO wants them to know they aren’t just putting themselves in danger. 

"Each of our boat crews that go out on a rescue have eight personnel that are going out there risking their lives to save yours. That’s not even counting the number of fire department personnel and other first responders going to be on scene," David said. "It can be up to 20 and you’re putting all those first responders' lives at risk not to mention yourself, your children, or whoever else may be in the vehicle with you."

A useful tool to avoid flooded roads is looking ATXFloods' closures page beforehand online to see all the roads which are closed due to flooding in the Austin area.

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