For the fifth topic of Severe Weather Awareness Week, Storm Team 2 is focused on Flooding.
Flooding is known to occur in the lowcountry due to thunderstorms, hurricanes, strong seasonal rains, and high tide conditions. Because this coastal part of South Carolina has very low-lying topography and experiences subtropical weather, we’re very susceptible to flooding from a small amount of precipitation, or subtle weather events.
The most damaging effects of a coastal flood are caused by strong winds, rain, erosion, storm surge, and battering by debris. Most recently, Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, Florence and Michael caused significant flooding, as did the October floods of 2015.
To best prepare yourself and your property for flooding, follow this checklist:
- Avoid developments in flood prone areas
- Elevate essentials like the electric panels, furnace, and water heater
- Install sewer traps with check valves for better drainage around your home
- Seal the interior and exterior walls of your basement / first floor
- Ensure that your insurance policy includes flood coverage, as it isn’t typically a part of most homeowner, mobile home, or renters insurance policies
In the case of a flood, essential steps include:
- Find higher ground if there is potential for flash flood, even if you aren’t told to move
- Move essential items to an upper floor in your home, disconnect electrical appliances, and be prepared to shut off the gas, electric, and water if need be
- Do not wade through more than 6 inches of moving water, and if you have to walk use a stick to ensure the firmness of the ground before you step
- Check for traffic updates on road closures or other hazards in your area
- Do not drive in flooded areas, as you and your vehicle can be swept away quickly. If flood waters surround your car, abandon it and move to higher ground
After a flood, it is important to stay up to date:
- Tune in to the Storm Team 2 app and Count On 2 to learn whether or not the community’s drinking water is contaminated
- Avoid floodwaters, as they may be contaminated by gasoline, raw sewage, oil or other debris. They may also be electrically charged from homes, downed power lines or underground sources
- Areas that were flooded may be structurally damaged; be very cautious of buildings roadways, bridges, or other elevated surfaces as they may look normal, but have underlying issues
- Alert your power company of downed power lines in your area
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect everything that got wet as mud from floodwaters often contains hazards such as sewage, and chemicals