NEW ORLEANS – After old signs at low-level roadways are covered by water during rains, now the City is installing new signs.
Homeland Security Chief Aaron Miller walked out of City Hall with a sign designed to save lives.
It will be placed at an underpass to warn drivers when the low-level roadway floods.
"Between 1995 and 2010, the National Weather Service tells us that 65 percent of deaths caused from flooding were people in vehicles who were trapped in those vehicles in flash flood situations," Miller said.
The April 1 deluge flooded streets citywide. A vehicle sank at the Canal Boulevard railroad underpass, the driver swimming to safety as horrified neighbors watched.
"Her car just started flooding, and of course we panicked," Cherie Rose of nearby City Park Physical Therapy said at the time.
That day I asked Aaron Miller about placing signs to warn drivers about deeply flooded underpasses, and he quickly saw the need based on past rescues.
"Met with the Fire Department and EMS to determine those locations they are most often called to assist stranded motorists and rescue people from flooded underpasses,” Miller said. “
Miller said the new signs will be placed in 10-12 intersections to show drivers how deep the water is, so they don't get trapped.
"It only takes about two inches to sweep a person off their feet,” Miller warned. “It only takes about six inches to have you lose control of your vehicle."
People who’ve seen cars flood before are excited about the change.
"I think that's incredible,” was her reaction when Cherie Rose heard about the new signs. “I mean, I think that's awesome, people will have a chance to deliberate 'do I want to go through this.'"
The signs will be installed in about a month, just in time for the spring rainy season, and then they're hoping people will pay attention to them. When it's raining, and it’s flooding, stopping could save your life or your car.
"I hope no one loses their car again like that,” Rose said fervently. “That was terrible."