BY LEANN DILBECK –
A strong thunderstorm that hit Sunday afternoon caused damage in Potter, Hatfield, Shady Grove and Mountain Fork communities in Polk County. According to Office of Emergency Management Manager James Reeves, straight-line winds destroyed a storage building and two homes received minor damage on Polk Road 36. Trees were blocking county roads 36, 37, 39, 48, 125, 93, Medlin and Heritage Lanes. Power lines were also down at Medlin Lane and across county roads 37 and 39. A large tree was blown on a house on Polk 39 but sustained minor roof damage. Reeves said county deputies did an outstanding job of checking on everyone. Potter, Hatfield and Shady Grove volunteer fire departments worked collaboratively clearing roadways.
Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison told The Pulse that a low water slab style bridge was washed out on Polk 95 and the approach to the Cedar Creek bridge on Polk 40 was washed and is not passable. A small bridge on Polk 154 near Hatfield is also impassable.
Officials commended everyone heeding the warnings that preceded this storm. Officials will continue to assess the damage as the high water recedes and update us as conditions allow.
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.