Updated: Monday, 24 May 2010, 11:12 AM CDT
Published : Monday, 15 Mar 2010, 5:52 PM CDT
SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) - This severe weather season could be extremely active, thanks to El Nino.
Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 15 through 19. Emergency crews are warning people about the dangers of flash flooding, especially in flash flood alley.
STARFlight Paramedic Stephen Maier knows just how dangerous flash flooding can be.
"The topography can funnel down quickly," said Maier. "The water can go from a slow trickle of water to a raging river almost instantly."
Maier has rescued countless people trapped in swift-moving waters. But there have been others he just could not save.
"If there's people on the roof of their car or stuck in a tree or wherever they might be, there's always a chance we might not get to them, and it's hard for us, because that's why we're here, that's why we're all staffed in the aircraft," said Maier.
Pam Showalter is the Co-Director of the first ever International Flash Flood Laboratory at Texas State University in San Marcos, a perfect location to study the perfect storm.
"Part of the reason that drove the creation of the lab is the fact that we are in the middle of Flash Flood Alley and that runs from San Antonio up to Dallas-Fort Worth," said Showalter. "The severity of the flash floods that occur here are so consistent and damaging that it made sense to have a laboratory smack dab in the middle where the action is."
Researchers and grad students will closely examine low water crossings, mapping all of them here in Central Texas and around the state. They will also identify which low water crossings are the most dangerous. Through the new lab's research and international communication on flash flooding, the goal is to prevent flooding damage and hopefully, save lives.