Heavy Rain Storm Brings Flood Warning

The National Weather Service  has issued a flash flood warning for the metro Birmingham area after an intense rain storm dropped 3-6 inches of rain before moving on.  According to forecasters, more rain is likely this afternoon and through the rest of the week, as well.

The National Weather Service’s primary mission is to provide weather information for the protection of life and property in this country.  The service not only records statistics on flood damage, loss, and fatalities, but offers flood safety information as well.  

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States.  Last year in 2011, 113 people died as a result of flooding in this nation.  Of those deaths, 63 percent resulted from driving incidents and the majority of these incidents were preventable. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, with most deaths occurring during flash floods.  Moving water at a depth of six inches can knock a person off of his feet.  More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.  Never drive around road barriers, as the road or bridge may be washed out.

Another major cause of death in floods is that of electrocution.  We all have heard the safety tip of never swimming during a storm.  This is because electrical current can travel through water and if lightning were to hit a lake or pool, that current would travel through the water and could electrocute the swimmer.  This is also true of downed power lines.  Always report downed power lines to either your utility company or the local emergency manager.

One danger of a flood is that of animals, especially snakes, that have been flooded out of their homes and may seek shelter in yours.  Snakes can be poisonous and animals can carry diseases, so make sure you use a pole or other device to rid your home of theses displaced creatures.

When flood waters have receded, make sure you either clean everything that has gotten wet or throw it away, as floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals that can be a hazard to your health. 

One important point that many homeowners are not aware, is that most insurance policies do not offer protection against flood losses.  If you live in an area that may flood, call your insurance agent to acquire flood protection.

By using common sense and following the safety rules listed above, you can prevent injury and even death from occurring to you and your family during and after experiencing a flood.