Flood Water Caution Friday, Sep 12 2014 

The Midwest is certainly seeing its share of flooding. But as stated on the government website, flooding is possible anywhere it rains.

Floods are caused by spring thaws, heavy rains, and damage to the landscape due to construction and wildfires. Also weakened levees can result in catastrophic floods.

A few terms to keep in mind:

  • Flood Watch—Flooding is possible.
  • Flood Warning—Flooding is occurring or will soon. Evacuation may be necessary.
  • Flash Flood—A flash flood is rapid flooding of low areas caused by intense rainfall.
  • Flash Flood Watch—Flash flooding is possible.
  • Flash Flood Warning—A flash flood is occurring.

Flash Floods are the #1 weather-related cause of death in the U.S. The water can move faster than it appears. As little as six inches can knock you off of your feet, pull you under, and result in drowning.

Recommendations during flooding include:

  • Do not drive through flooded streets.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Electrical current travels though water.
  • Turn off the electricity. Even unplugged appliances such as televisions, can cause shock.
  • Watch for small animals that may have found shelter in your home during evacuation.
  • Step carefully across floors covered with debris. There may be broken glass or other harmful items underfoot.
  • Don’t smoke or use candles until you are certain the gas has been turned off and the area aired out.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Rain, Rain, Go Away Thursday, Apr 18 2013 

We can always talk about the weather in the Midwest. It fluctuates and can be extreme. Currently we are experiencing record breaking rainfalls. Much of the Chicago area is experiencing at least some flooding, and there are areas completely underwater.

Flood water is potentially contaminated with raw sewage and toxic substances, so it is best to avoid contact if possible. If you must work in it, the EPA suggests frequent hand washing with disinfecting soap, especially before drinking and eating. Also, be sure your vaccinations are up to date.

Other suggestions include:

  • Do not allow children to play in flood waters.
  • Keep generator exhaust way from doors and windows because it is toxic.
  • Do not use water from flooded household wells until it is tested safe to use.
  • Do not use the sewage system from home septic systems after a flood until the water in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level around the house.
  • Never drive through flooded areas.
  • Do not enter flooded basements if the power is on.
  • After the flood, remove standing water and get areas dry within 24-48 hours to avoid mold.
  • Boil drinking water for at least 3 minutes.
  • Toss unrefrigerated perishable food.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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