By Rev. Roy Butler, Bethel, White Rock
While Joaquin does not appear to be a direct threat as in a full strength hurricane, there is a high potential for threats and dangers associated with flooding and flash flood conditions. According to meteorology models for storm analysis and tracking South Carolina is will not encounter hurricane like conditions with the exception of intense rain which could potentially reach levels anywhere from 8 to 12 inches over the course of 48 -60 hours. This is a tremendous amount of rainfall and will no doubt cause serious increases in river and lake levels as well as dangerous flooding throughout the affected area. Throughout the next 48-60 hours winds from Joaquim are not expected to significantly impact our area.
As Joaquin moves northward and impacts us with huge amounts of precipitation here are a few things to consider as we weather together the storm:
- Stay home. Rainfall at the predicted intensity is life threatening. Stay home unless you are confronted with a health emergency. If you experience a health emergency contact rescue/emergency/ambulance/fire/law enforcement personnel who are trained and have the equipment to provide medical assistance and transport.
- If you are unable to contact proper authority/assisting agency and it is a necessity to venture out in these conditions remember to maintain slow speed and do not enter into areas where you cannot see the pavement. Water covering roadways may be covering deep and dangerous washouts as well. Remember it takes very low levels of water to actually move a vehicle and render it out of control.
- Maintain the flow of information listening to news and storm trends which may indicate a change of direction with regard to the storm’s movement. It is advised that battery operated radios, etc., be accessible in the event of a power outage.
- Be prepared to lose communications. Rising water levels and intense rainfall may interrupt cell phone as well as internet service.
- Have on hand enough water to last several days as well as nonperishable food items that are safe to eat without cooking. If you lose power and must cook using gas stoves/grill or charcoal do so outside to prevent asphyxiation.
- Take care of you and your family first. You may check on those who may need additional assistance in your area such as the elderly or those with handicaps. Again, do not drive unless it is a medical emergency and trained professionals are not available or you are without the ability to communicate.
- Prepare beforehand a list of local shelters. The Red Cross can typically provide you with the locations of safe places to seek refuge from the weather.
Other things of which to be mindful:
- After the storm has passed continue to stay put and not interfere with rescue attempts and the basic restoration of power and gas. Stay away from downed power lines and if you smell gas leave the area immediately.
- With high levels of ground saturation there is high potential of downed trees and washed out roads.
- Flooding of this magnitude will disrupt the routine of local wildlife to include reptilian. Should you need to venture out give a wide berth to any wildlife you may encounter.
- Flood water often contains dangerous debris both physical as in trees, vegetation, building materials, and biohazards such as raw/untreated sewage, chemicals (manufacturing, agricultural, etc.), and other dangerous contaminants.
Emergency Phone numbers:
South Carolina Electric and Gas
Downed /Sparking Lines – 1-888-333-4465
Gas Leaks – 1-800-815-0083
Duke Power – 1-800-Power-On, (1-800-769-3766)
Lowcountry SC | North Charleston, SC | (843) 764-2323
Central SC | Columbia, SC | 803-540-1200
Northern SC | Rock Hill, SC | 803-329-6575
Eastern SC | Myrtle Beach, SC | 843-477-0020
Upstate SC | Greenville, SC | 864-271-8222
For Medical, Fire or Law Enforcement emergencies dial 911.
Failure to plan is planning to fail! Hope is not a plan!!!