Potential Severe Weather Preparedness

With Tropical Storm Hermine approaching and being in the middle of this year’s hurricane season, please keep the following tips in mind during periods of heavy rain and severe weather.

 Inspect your home. Remove leaves and debris from gutters, clear your storm drains and drainage areas of any debris or trash, make sure that windows and doors are properly secured, and make sure your sump pump is working if you have one.

If there’s a risk of severe flooding in your area, move your valuable belongings to the upper floors. Bring inside possessions like lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans, or else tie them down securely. Charge your cell phone, put fresh batteries in your flashlights, and make sure you have adequate food and water for a few days. You can fill your bathtubs, sinks, and plastic soda bottles with clean water, but sanitize the sinks and tubs first by cleaning with bleach and rinsing them.

Other tips include:

  • Make a flood plan and plan evacuation routes.
  • Caulk cracks around windows and doors to prevent water from seeping inside.
  • Check trees in your yard and remove any dead branches which could fall during heavy rain and cause damage.
  • Remove leaves, branches, and debris from gutters and drains at your home. Otherwise, water could overflow and rot the woodwork around the roof area.
  • Lower the water level in your swimming pool so it is less likely to overflow during heavy rain.
  • Turn off automated sprinkler systems when rain is expected.
  • Have a flashlight, batteries, and a first aid kit on hand, in case you get stranded in your home.
  • Have a week’s supply of medications and supplies ready to administer.
  • Check to see if your home is in a floodplain to find out if your area has a history of flooding.
  • Keep important documents – including insurance policies, birth certificates, and passports in an easily accessible waterproof box.
If your home, apartment, or business has suffered severe damage, immediately call the insurance company or agent who handles your flood insurance policy to file a claim. Even if you are not insured, make a written record of the date and time the flooding started and ended, and note the depth of the water. Document and photograph items that were damaged, and record their estimated value.

If damage is severe, consider a professional cleaning service. If you are cleaning the property yourself, wear appropriate protection, such as rubber boots and gloves. Make sure to disinfect any affected areas with a solution of water and bleach (four tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water), and always save receipts for out-of-pocket expenses on clean-ups.

More deaths occur due to flooding each year than from any other thunderstorm or hurricane related hazard. Many of these casualties are a result of careless or unsuspecting motorists who attempt to navigate flooded roads. The National Weather Service now warns anyone who comes to a flooded roadway, “Turn around… don’t drown!”

 Follow these safety rules:
  • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Stay away from flood-prone areas, including dips, low spots, valleys, ditches, washes, etc.
  • Avoid flooded areas or those with rapid water flow. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream. It takes only six inches of fast flowing water to sweep you off your feet.
  • Don’t allow children to play near high water, storm drains or ditches. Hidden dangers could lie beneath the water.
  • Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. NEVER drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Water only two feet deep can float away most automobiles.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

To keep up to date on the pending storm and during any severe weather event, check the following sources:
@NCEmergency on Twitter
@NWSRaleigh on Twitter
@OCNCEmergency on Twitter

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