On my way to Hillsboro Cove to get pictures of flooded campsites on Monday, I saw water running over 190th Road just west of Nighthawk Road, so I stopped to get some pictures. I was greeted by a pair of dogs, one black, and one white and tan.
While getting pictures, I noticed the black dog swimming in the flooded ditch. Before I knew it — and probably before the dog knew it, too — it was caught by a current pulling it toward the culvert. Before I could react, the dog disappeared underwater. My heart leaped into my throat. There wasn’t anything I could do except turn to watch where the culvert came out downhill. I was so relieved when I saw the dog pop out of the water on the other side of the road, apparently none the worse for wear, although thoroughly soaked.
The dog should serve as a safety lesson for anyone who thinks about swimming in flowing floodwaters. If the culvert had been smaller, or if it had been obstructed, that dog would have been doomed to drown.
I’m sure there are people who would say, “So what? It was just a dog, and it turned out OK.” If those people want a more chilling example of the risks of floodwaters, they can turn their attention to Wichita, where a 14-year-old boy died Friday when he went swimming in floodwaters. It took two days for emergency workers to find him, and he only went 200 yards before he got caught in brush.
Floodwaters are dangerous, especially floodwaters that are flowing. A foot of moving water is more than enough to knock an unwary person off his or her feet, and murky waters can hide dangerous obstacles. We have swimming pools and swimming beaches in the county. The thrill of swimming in floodwaters isn’t worth the risk it entails. Don’t risk it.
— ADAM STEWART