Floods, as you might know, are the large quantities of water present in an otherwise dry location. These happen because of overflowing rivers, lakes seas, and other nearby water sources (dams), or because of very heavy rainfall that sends draining systems over the edge. In the United States this is a very common problem, and as climate change worsens, so do such disasters.
You might not always know when flooding is about to happen, but you’ll obviously feel its effect during, and definitely after. So, here are some steps you can take to keep yourself safe in case you’re caught off-guard.
The immediate action you should take is to turn on a news source like a radio, or your phone, and see what the authorities recommend doing. Meanwhile, know that at any moment flash-flooding can happen, so avoid staying near high-risk areas (streams, large draining systems) and try to get to higher ground as soon as possible.
If you’re evacuating, the steps you should take if there’s time to spare are moving anything you can out of harm’s way (outdoor furniture or appliances) or bringing them inside, turning off the main electricity switch and water valve, and unplugging every electrical device. Under no circumstance should you handle electrical devices if water has already infiltrated your home. Put any valuable items that you can’t carry into water-proof containers to keep them from being damaged. Also, release any livestock to increase their survival chance and take any pets with you if possible.
If you’re going to be driving to a safer location, keep in mind:
After the water level subsides, you might think it’s safe to return and assess the damage, but that might not always be the case. Consider the following:
Three basic steps that anyone can take in order to keep health risks to a minimum are:
There are a few reasons why this is an important factor in the more frequent floodings, seeing as they keep breaking the records year after year, and those are as follows:
In the last century, the overall temperature has increased by 1.8°F. Although it might seem an unimportant number, it has actually caused a 4% higher wetness, meaning that when it rains, it pours, and when it pours, it comes with a high chance of flood. And it will continue to worsen, as experts say there will be another 50% jump by the end of this century.
Since heat levels are going up, sea levels follow, as the ice caps melt at a faster rate. An approximate height of 8 inches has been added to the oceans’ level, bringing the rising rate to a new high.
Rain isn’t the only phenomenon happening more often. Storms are amped up as well, and those can turn into highly potent hurricanes. Those in category 4, and even 5, have been showing up all around the U.S., bringing with them incredible damage and leaving thousands without a home or causing some of their deaths. Like in the case of higher heat, hurricanes are also expected to worsen as time passes.
The combination of those 3 turns flooding into an unavoidable situation. Other than doing damage to properties, it also causes a spike in disease, as overflowing water gathers from many sources, including sewers, bringing all kinds of bacteria and viruses along, turning potable water into polluted water.
Many have thought that “It doesn’t look so bad.” or “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing!” and the outcome hasn’t been as good as they’d hoped. Never underestimate the power of natural disasters and always try to stay one step ahead. Even by doing so, there’s no way of predicting when things will start to spiral out of control. As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
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