Georgetown County officials advise residents to prepare for flooding from Hurricane Florence

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If residents travel after rains begin, Georgetown County Emergency Management is asking that they practice extreme caution on roadways, especially at night.

Residents are reminded to avoid driving through flooded roadways. Even a thin layer of water can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. As little as six inches of water may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle. A foot of water will carry small vehicles away and two feet of water will carry almost any vehicle away.

For residents in low-lying areas or who feel potential flooding at their homes may put them in danger, Georgetown County has opened shelters at Pleasant Hill Elementary School and Andrews Elementary School. Visit the town’s website for more shelter information.

The combination of flooding and strong winds has the potential to cause downed trees and power outages. Residents should also be aware that flooding may occur well inland and even in the most western portions of the county. If flooding occurs, take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones, including:

  • Stay away from any downed electrical wires and report them to authorities.
  • Do not attempt to cross flowing water on roadways. As little as six inches of water may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle. Two feet of water will carry most cars away.  
  • Be aware that flooding on roadways can be difficult to see and assess at night. Avoid driving if conditions seem unsafe.
  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water is enough to make a person fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a sturdy stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.

Prepare Your Home

Residents who have not yet done so are advised to take the following precautions to prevent or minimize property damage or loss if flooding occurs:

  • Secure or move outdoor items that may be carried away by flood waters, including outdoor furniture, fuel tanks and other items around the exterior of your home or business. If items cannot be tied down, consider moving them indoors or to higher ground.
  • Consider moving essential or very valuable items to an upper floor.
  • Disconnect electrical items where possible.
  • Be prepared to turn off gas, electricity and water.
  • Gather important documents, such as insurance policies and put them in a safe place.
  • Residents who wish to use sand bags to redirect storm debris flows away from property can find them at most hardware stores. Bags should be filled to half-full. Fold the top of the sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top. It is important to place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water flows past.

After a flood 

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if the roadway of a bridge or elevated highway looks normal, the support structures below may be damaged.
  • Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your power company.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and other harmful chemicals.

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