90% of all federal disaster declarations are for flood events. Did you know that floods are the #1 weather related killer in the United States? Most flooding in our area is due to rapid snow melt, slow moving thunder storms, or thunderstorms repeatedly moving over the same area.
Flooding in Marinette County is typically a "slow moving event". This means that you have some advance warning and can make some preparations to mitigate damage. Keep a supply of sandbags on-hand, especially if your home is located near a stream or river. It is not uncommon for ditches to overfill due to ice and debris blocking culverts. "Forms & Documents" has information on how to fill and place sandbags to create a dyke to divert water away from your home.
Insurance is a major factor to consider. FloodSmart.gov can provide you information about flood insurance. Talk to your insurance agency to ensure you are covered for sump pump failure, roof leaks due to storm damage, etc.
* LISTEN to your NOAA Weather Radio or other news source to stay informed about the latest watches/warnings
* NEVER let children play around high water, storm drains, or viaducts.
* DO NOT WALK through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
* AVOID flood prone areas. Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
* NEVER drive through a flooded roadway - you don't know what is under the water.
Flood Clean-Up Tips
- 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling
- A foot of water will float many vehicles
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups
Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters. Some canned foods may be salvageable. If the cans are dented or damaged, throw them away.
If water is of questionable purity, boil or add bleach, and distill drinking water before using. Wells inundated by flood waters should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. If the water is pumped completely in a short period of time, pressure from water-saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.
Remove Standing Water. Standing water is a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can become airborne and be inhaled. Even when flooding is due to rain water, the growth of microorganisms can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. For these health reasons, and to lessen structural damage, all standing water should be removed as quickly as possible.
Remove Wet Materials within 24-48 hours. It can be difficult to throw away items in a home, particularly those with sentimental value. However, keeping certain items that were soaked by water may be unhealthy. In general, materials that are wet and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours should be discarded, as they can remain a source of microbial growth. For information on mold prevention and cleanup, visit the EPA.
Be careful Using Cleaners and Disinfectants. The cleanup process involves thorough washing and disinfecting of the walls, floors, closets, shelves, and contents of the house. FEMA also suggests the use of disinfectants and sanitizers on the duct work for the heating and air conditioning system if it has been flooded. Disinfectants and sanitizers contain toxic substances so be carefull about mixing them together. Check labels for cautions. Mixing certain types of products can produce toxic fumes and result in injury and even death.
This is a brief list of things to do. For more complete information go to "Links" in the left column under Flooding.