Turn Around, Don't Drown

Turn Around, Don't DrownAlways consult the National Weather Service forecast before visiting a national forest. Consider postponing your visit when inclement weather is forecasted.

After heavy rains and/or melting ice and snow, forest roads can flood very quickly and may be washed out under flood waters. Turn Around Don’t Drown when you encounter a flooded road.

Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pickups.

Six inches of fast moving water can knock you off your feet.

Rock falls and mudslides can be triggered by freezing temperatures followed by rainy thaws. Rain gets down into the cracks and freezes, then it expands and loosens the rocks.

If heavy rain is forecast or occurring, move your camp site and vehicle away from streams and washes. 

Be especially cautious when driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

If hiking, never attempt to cross a flooded stream or river.

About Flooding

A flash flood is a rapid rise of water in a low-lying area, usually caused by an intense storm that produces heavy rainfall in a short amount of time. It develops rapidly and can strike with little or no warning. Flash floods can occur between hills, near small streams or in any low area. Small streams can become raging rivers with the strength to roll boulders and vehicles, tear out trees and wash away bridges. A flash flood can unleash deadly force in minutes.

Learn more from The National Weather Service...

National Weather Service lingo: A flash flood watch means threatening weather is possible in the area. A flash flood warning means you may have only seconds to escape.

Climb to Safety

During a weather event, a flash flood watch or warning will be broadcast on the news and transmitted on weather radios. Also, cell phones can receive wireless emergency alerts--a personal warning about imminent threats like flash floods. Consumers can sign up to receive imminent threat alerts from their cellular carrier, or install a weather alert app on a smart phone.

Remember, flash floods develop so rapidly that you may not get a warning. Any time a warning is issued, climb to safety immediately. Do not remain in a low-lying area. 

  • Know your area's flood risks. Monitor the NOAA weather radio all hazards bulletins, or your local news stations for vital weather information.
  • Stay alert for signs of heavy rain. Watch for rising water levels. 
  • Set up camp at least 300 feet away from any stream or river. A peaceful riverside campsite can become dangerous overnight.
  • Get to higher ground if flooding occurs. Leave low-lying areas immediately.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water if flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. 
  • If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. For safe driving tips, visit the Weather Channel.
  • Don't try to swim to safety; wait for rescuers to come to you.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
  • Do not let children play near flooded streams or rivers. Flooded streams and rivers are not safe for recreational boating.
  • Excessive rain and strong winds may also lead to trees falling across roads. 

NOAA logo

Visit NOAA for weather updates. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jackson, Kentucky provides current weather information for eastern Kentucky. Most of the Daniel Boone National Forest lies in the area covered by this office.