Rescue Teams Ready for Valley Flooding

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Rockingham County Rescue Boat

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- We're tracking heavy rain and the potential for flooded roads.

As creeks and streams come out of their banks with the rain, you may be tempted to drive through water covering the road; however, it's a risk that could cost you a lot of money and your life.

It only takes about 10 inches of water to do serious damage to your car's engine as air intake ducts are usually near the bottom of the car.

Once water reaches those intakes, it gets drawn into your motor. While you may think gunning it to get through the water will help, mechanics across the Valley will tell you that's a terrible idea.

"If you drive through water and your engine is at higher speeds, it'll suck up the water in the combustion chamber. It can't compress it, so it'll cause internal damage to the engine resulting in bent piston rods. They usually have to replace the whole engine," explained Harrisonburg mechanic, Jonathan Knight.

With the potential for flooding and stalled cars, fire departments are on alert, because they have to rescue people who choose to drive into water that floods roadways in the Valley.

As the water starts to rise Tuesday night, they're suiting up for what could be a rash of rescues.

"We're watching our rain gauges and flood gauges in our area," shared Chief Jeremy Holloway from Rockingham County Fire and Rescue.

After pulling people from water last year, the chief and his water rescue team are ready.

"We did have a couple significant instances where people were trapped and we would've had some major issues if the team hadn't gone out and done their job, which they do very well," continued Holloway.

Those emergencies come up when people try to drive their cars through water at low-crossing bridges and stall the engine.

Fortunately, Rockingham County has boats for rescues. It's an experience that these guys say is nerve-racking, but rewarding.

"It gives you a good feeling to know that all the training you go through is put to good use," shared lieutenant training officer, Bryan Smith with Rockingham County.

As the water comes up on bridges they say they hope people will avoid these low-lying areas and keep out of harm's way.

Firefighters also say we should prepare for basement flooding as well by unplugging appliances that might get wet in the days to come.


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