When Flood Waters Rise, Out Come the Big Rigs

Unfortunately it takes a natural disaster to see what America has in its burliest garages.

Whenever high waters are involved, a National Guard LMTV is likely nearby, wading its way through the murky mess thanks to its 60-inch fording capability.Sean Rayford/Getty Images
This early-2000s Ford F-150 may not be the most conventional patrol vehicle, but it has four-wheel drive and will run circles around the conventional Crown Vics on flooded streets.Richard Ellis/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
O.K., maybe a firetruck is not the most amphibious vehicle, but its weight (around 35,000 lbs) and high ground clearance allow the fire department to reach those who are unable to evacuate without assistance. AFP photo/MLaden/Getty Images
To  restore order to the devastated capital city of Columbia, South Carolina, the local police department and National Guard have been working together to evacuate stranded residents and close flooded roads.Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Smaller than the LMTV, an HMMWV (Humvee) is perfect for navigating smaller streets and debris during natural disasters. Although it's widely viewed as an assualt vehicle, a Humvee in the U.S. spends the majority of its time aiding in disasters just like this.Michael Fein/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Whether a fire, hurricane, tornado or flood, etc, the Red Cross quickly mobilizes its gargantuan fleet.Tracy Glantz/The State/TNS via Getty Images
Heavy-duty construction vehicles like this Caterpillar 938G are a common sight during floods since their hydraulic arms are among the few things capable of moving 2,000-lb sandbags. In addition to the municipalities and armed forces divisions using these pieces of equipment, you'll often find private contractors chipping in on site.Sean Rayford/Getty Images
During Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012, these NYPD barrier trucks were used primarily for... well, not moving barriers. Instead they were used by officers to help evacuate residents in low-lying areas—which is to say, the entire New York seashore.Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Often called a Utility, Attack or Brush Truck, these little firetrucks are ideal for wading water and navigating the tight quarters of flooded neighborhoods.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
A favorite of most public works departments, Komatsu loaders can be easily retrofitted to plow a street full of debris—or in this case during Tropical Storm Sandy, move a downed tree.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
As seen in many a nightly news segment, these Black Hawk National Guard helicopters are used to rescue stranded flood victims when the going down low is rough. Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
Although we don't condone wading through uncertain waters, we can't help but smile after seeing this Jeep Cherokee (XJ) bomb through flooded streets during Tropical Storm Sandy. Lifted Cherokee 1, Flood 0.Mario Tama/Getty Images
So maybe your family sedan won't make it through a flooded Charleston, S.C., but this pickup sure will. It also has that cheeky line on the liftgate clearly referencing rowboats... right?Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

As South Carolina finds itself in a state of emergency, a handful of specialized vehicles are deployed. While civilian cars succumb to the high waters and dangerous currents, heavy-duty military, municipal and even some soft-roaders render aid. Above, you'll find these vehicles doing what they do best—amid what can only be described as trying circumstances—during floods over the past few years in the U.S.