Carlsbad Caverns: New signs help warn of flood danger

Jessica Onsurez
Carlsbad Current-Argus

Turn around, don't drown.

It's sound advice to those who travel on roadways with low points likely to be flooded, whether by flash floods or brief, heavy rains.

Several of those low points where rain water collects can be found on the 7-mile stretch of roadway that leads to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park visitors center.

In order to warn motorist of the dangers of crossing flooded roadways, Carlsbad Caverns partnered with the National Weather Service to install TADD — or 'turn around, don't drown' — signs at the site Aug. 7.

"The main road at the cave has a couple of low points that flood very easily and can strand people in the park," said Mark Strobin, a meteorologist with the NWS.

"Our office has built an excellent relationship with (Carlsbad Caverns) over the last five years that enabled the NWS and the (national park) to team up to make this endeavor possible and to save lives and property."

Carlsbad Caverns was the first national park in the U.S. to install TADD signs. The park is now a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador.

Ambassadors provide outreach content, explore collaborative and innovative approaches for outreach to affect change in communities. The program is an initiative of the National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which partners with other organizations to educate the public on weather risks.

"WRN Ambassadors serve a pivotal role in affecting societal change — helping to build a nation that is ready, responsive, and resilient to the impacts of extreme weather and water events," NOAA's website reads.

Jim Deberry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and Ranger David Hall installed the signs at the Caverns.

Jessica Onsurez can be reached at 575-628-5531, jonsurez@currentargus.com or @JussGREAT on Twitter.