TRACKING FLORENCE: What to do when flooding, downed power lines happen in your area

TRACKING FLORENCE: Here are some Midlands areas you need to avoid when flooding is an issue

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A natural disaster can affect your neighborhood in a myriad of ways.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Turn around, don't drown (information from the National Weather Service): Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
    • The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water.
    • Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.
    • A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
    • It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.
  • Stay away from downed power lines – Storms can cause tree limbs and entire trees to break and fall, sometimes taking power lines and even meter boxes down with them. Always assume any downed power line you see is live and stay away.
  • It is not necessary to turn off your natural gas service at the meter during a hurricane.
    • Natural gas is distributed through underground lines that should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm.
    • However, if you believe flooding could cause the pilot light of a natural gas appliance to be extinguished, you can turn off the appliance’s supply valve.
    • If you do turn off the appliance’s supply valve, or if your appliance becomes flooded, do not try to relight the pilot light yourself; instead, contact a qualified contractor to inspect the appliance before using it.
  • Trash cans: Because strong wind can blow roll carts into the street, roll carts should be put out on collection day and returned to a safe location as soon as possible. Ensure the lid of the roll cart is closed securely to reduce the possibility of trash blowing out

Report an Outage

  • Not everyone has the same utility provider. To find the number to your utility, should you have an outage, click here.

TRACKING FLORENCE: You can track the storm by using the following FIRST ALERT models:

Tips for Residents

  • Help ease flooding by raking leaves and other debris away from storm drains.
  • Call your insurance agent in advance and know what your coverage is.
  • Don’t allow children to play in rising water.
  • Turn around, don’t drown: do not drive on flooded roadways.

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