Water Water Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink
Over the weekend, heavy rain and flash flooding consumed many parts of South Carolina. Stretching from Greenville to Charleston, two lives were taken due to the storms. Kimberly Jackson, 36, and Timothy Sullivan, 39, were both swept away after escaping their car in rising floodwaters Saturday night. The two were sucked into a storm pipe in Greenville. Jackson was found in a drainage pipe while Sullivan was found Monday in a pond.
According to weather.com meteorologists, “almost three inches of rain fell in the Greenville area from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. local time.” The associated press reported the rainfall caused the Reedy River, which runs through downtown, to rise from three feet to nearly 11.
Two people were injured in Greer, South Carolina, just north of Greenville due to the storms. Their cars fell into a hole left behind by a collapsed bridge.
Emergency workers rescued six elderly residents from an apartment in Pender County, North Carolina after water flooded their homes. Several roads and highways were closed due to high waters and damages, including the Country Club Dive and Azaela Drive in Hampstead, North Carolina. A large sinkhole formed and swallowed portions of the road.
The rain continued up the East Coast to New York this week. Anne Arundel County in Maryland experienced a torrential downpour of more than 10 inches in less than 24 hours. Southern New Jersey receieved nine inches while Baltimore saw 6.3, making it the second rainiest day recorded in the city’s history.
Flooding to Drought
From excess amounts of water on one side of the country, to drought on the other, California is experiencing record heat and extreme water shortages. Dubbed to be the most severe category of dryness, experts say even an El Nino year will not be enough to save the state in 2015. The dry spell has sparked wildfires burning six at a time.
On January 17, 2014, California Governor, Edmund G. Brown, proclaimed a State of Emergency and urged state officials to take necessary steps to prepare for the driest year in recorded history. According to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages.”
With still a quarter of the year remaining, the statistics on the California drought are staggering. Here are a few from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services weekly drought brief:
- CAL FIRE has responded to 3, 813 wildfires across the state since January 1, burning 44,408 acres
- The year-to-date average number of wildfires is 2,801 on 35,168 acres
- Day Fire in Modoc County (that started July 30) has burned more than 7,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained
- As of August 3, over 172,000 boxes of food have been provided to community food banks in drought-impacted counties
Read more of the statistics and the full weekly drought report here.
Drinking water is quickly becoming scarce and the state is taking notice. The State Water Board’s Drinking Water Program is monitoring water systems to determine if new support is needed. Last week, over $8.8 million was identified for specific emergency drinking water projects. In March, $15 million was allocated for this purpose.
Water saving tips and recommendations are being promoted throughout the state. California’s water conservation website, SaveOurWater.com, is promoting the “Don’t Waste Summer” campaign. Supporters can sign up for daily emails and share the campaign via Facebook and Twitter.
Day by day, the drought is progressively moving south. The Associated Press released a statement regarding the problems caused by the lack of rain. The head of the Panama Canal Authority says “officials might be forced to limit the draft of ships by the end of this year or early in 2015 if a drought continues and lowers the level of lakes that feed the waterway’s locks.”
Thirty-eight to 40 ships use the canal daily carrying nearly five percent of the world maritime trade. Officials are hoping for a healthy rainfall in the upcoming months. The rainfall this season, however, has been the lowest in the 100-year history of the canal.
In any crisis, you must be proactive when preparing. Whether the disaster is a tornado, hurricane, flooding or a drought, staying one step ahead of the crisis is essential. The very first thing you need to do to prepare for a disaster is to speak with your family and/or those with whom you live. If you live alone, have this conversation with yourself, but understand you don’t have to prepare all by yourself. Your family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, classmates, etc. will work with you; in fact you will probably be part of their extended team as well.
Your conversation will address the low-level anxiety you have about disasters and should begin to transform that anxiety into positive action.
The goal of the conversation is three-fold:
To predict means to assess the risks you face. It is in the discovery of potential risks that you’ll begin to develop the solutions to overcome them…your preparations. In the initial conversation, you will not know all the risks, but you will know some of them and that’s where you start.
To plan means to do what it takes to make your plan real – that is, taking the steps to get your plan in shape. Topics in your first conversation should include:
An acknowledgment that a disaster can impact you
A discussion of your personal vulnerabilities as well as the risks your community faces. Include any special needs of your household (such as seniors, those impacted by disabilities, small children or babies, and pets)
Setting some preliminary goals for continuing your disaster plans and preparations
To perform means to reap the rewards of evaluating your risks and preparing your plan. The satisfaction of knowing you have taken the necessary steps to improve your family’s chances of survival will engender confidence among your family members and increase the probability that your extended family and friends will do the same. The act of being informed on preparedness issues will elevate you to a new level of knowledge and expertise. This will allow you to become a necessary and welcome resource for others in your community and work environment.
Anticipate spending about an hour and a half with all the members of your household who are able to contribute. Gather together the adult members first. Have a second conversation with the younger members of your family, incorporating thoughts and ideas given at each level of comprehension.
One way to start the conversation is to ask: “How would you feel if a disaster hit our home today?” or “What would you do if a disaster hit right this minute?” Let everyone say whatever comes to mind. You may be surprised to find out that your teenage son or daughter has some good ideas. Get their thoughts, concerns and fears out on the table. As the conversation moves along the dialogue will open up and everyone will feel more comfortable expressing their uncertainties and worries. In these first 90 minutes do not make light of or dismiss any fears; at this stage any concerns are valid. You want an open and honest discussion because all efforts to foster cooperation. Teamwork now will naturally surface later and work in your favor during a time of need.
Be prepared for any disaster by downloading our free book, Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America.