Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Notes from a Rain Storm (and Subsequent Flood)

So far this year we have had a windstorm and snowstorm. Rounding out the trifecta was a rain storm this weekend that soaked our region (and melted all of the snow) causing pretty big flooding problem in some areas. Here are some lessons learned:
  • Know the roads in your area and have maps in your car. Many of the usual routes were inundated with water so alternate routes were the only way to get around.
  • Don't drive through flooded roads. In a few cases, doing this led to a couple of minutes of airtime on the local news and no problems as the driver meandered through rain-swollen roads, in many other cases it led to cars being abandoned, flooded engines, people being rescued from car rooftops, and in some rare cases, cars were driven into what was assumed to be a few inches of water that actually turned out to be washed out roads and sink holes--these unlucky cars won't be seen again until the rain stops and the flooding subsides.
  • Do as much pre-event prep as possible: clean out gutters, make sure the sump pump works, move animals to higher pasture, make sure any drainage problems are taken care of ASAP, have sand and sandbags at the ready if flooding is common in your area.
  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record--have a well stocked BOB in your home and car. Some people had to evacuate at a moments notice, while other were stuck in their cars on closed highways for literally hours (a couple of freeways will be closed for days until repair work and/or flood waters can be taken care of). You need to be able to take care of yourself (food, water, amusements, etc.) for the duration of such events.
  • Stay home. If your home is safe and secure, that is absolutely the best place to be. First, it alleviates added cars in what is already a mess of traffic; second, it keeps you from becoming stranded; third, it is (or should be) well stocked with all you would need to hunker down for days to weeks. There's no point in risking life and limb to get a dozen eggs, get to the office, or run to the video store.
  • Have alternate forms of transportation available. During the worst of the flooding, motorcycles, bicycles and even (especially) rafts and canoes were far easier to use for transportation than cars.
  • Don't buy or build in an area that floods. Duh. Every year, the same neighborhoods, the same houses, even the same people are interviewed on the news about the flood that just washed out the lower level of their homes. Obviously when buying a home or land take into consideration the likelihood of floods and mudslides (or any other natural disaster) before buying.
  • Avoid wading through flood water (it can be contaminated with sewage and other nasty stuff).
  • Keep up on what's happening. Our local news, radio news, and county DEM website all provide up to the minute information on conditions as they change.
  • If your home does flood: turn off all utilities, raise things (furniture, etc) to higher ground, evacuate if necessary, don't use your well until the flood waters recede and the well has been decontaminated.

1 comment:

  1. This is good information. Think of driving on flooded road and the bridge is washed away without you knowing it. Bye bye as you and your vehicle are carried down a raging torrent.