By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Hurricane Florence certainly gained a lot of notoriety and public attention when it was first classified as a potential Category 5 storm. Florence continued to strengthen over the course of a week on its path across the Atlantic Ocean towards the Carolinas, but once it was ashore, the storm’s power weakened considerably. Many Americans felt that Florence was less of an issue after it lost its hurricane category strength.
However, Florence still posed a threat to public safety with the tremendous amount of rain that fell. While Florence had lost its wind strength, it didn't lose the capacity to cause major flooding.
Just like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey, excessive flooding from Hurricane Florence has been a serious concern for North and South Carolina. It will continue to be a problem over the course of the next few weeks.
Excessive Flooding Must Never Be Underestimated
Flooding is a serious emergency situation. During Hurricane Katrina, individuals trying to escape the water in their homes went up into attics, but still drowned.
Flooding also destroys a home, leaving it uninhabitable. For example, mold moves in after the waters recede and floors and walls become more vulnerable to collapse.
There are numerous hidden dangers in flood waters: live wires, broken glass, pieces of sharp metal, downed trees, animals and underwater currents not visible to swimmers. These currents pose drowning risks to individuals who are not strong swimmers.
Flood Waters Contain Bacterial Hazards
One article by CBS News stated that Hurricane Florence flooded several farms. In the country, flood waters often pass over fields that have animal feces or the carcasses of drowned animals.
This type of flood water is a strong public health concern for humans and pets. The bacteria in the water causes disease for anyone coming into contact with contaminated water.
Preparing for Future Hurricanes
Ultimately, there aren’t a lot of ways to prevent massive floods like the type that North and South Carolina are currently experiencing. To effectively move forward with recovery efforts, emergency managers working flood water incidents need to plan for the extent of the floods and the hazards posed by flooding, especially in agricultural areas.