Many of you may already know this, but I live down in Austin Tx, and down here rain is a bit of a sight to see.
I always joke around saying that I will take all of the rain I can get.
But I never meant for it to be all at once…
Take a look at the image to the right.
(Sorry for the rough quality, but it was a rough morning.)
I snapped this from my phone, less than 1000 yards from my front door.
It may be a little hard to see but the water level is only about 4 feet from the bottom of the stop lights.
Over the course of only a few hours, we had well over a foot of rain come pouring down.
And I, as it happens most times when it rains, slept like a log, none the wiser of just how close I came to being the proud owner of a water bed…
It took a couple of days for the water to subside, and for us to really see the damage.
Lives were lost, homes were destroyed and cleanup is still underway.
If this were to happen to you, how prepared would you be?
Fellow Austinite, and writer Jeff Kubiszyn saw much of the same devastation that I did and he wanted to share a few tips with you about flood safety:
Halloween proved to be more of a trick than a treat for many families in Central Texas. Early morning rains turned creeks into raging rivers, which flooded neighborhoods and left residents scrambling on to their roofs for safety. For many residents, there was no warning. The Austin neighborhood of Onion Creek was one of the hardest hit. So much rain fell that the creek quickly left its banks and flooded the neighborhood. People woke to find water in their homes. Cars floated down streets.
Trapped in their homes, people sought refuge in attics or on top of roofs. Those with cell phones called for help. Rescuers plucked people off their roofs by boat and helicopter. Rescue operations went well into the day on Halloween. Family members waited desperately to get news on loved ones. Fortunately there was no loss of life. This was not the case in other Central Texas communities. In all, five people perished as a result of flooding in the area.
The weather can be unpredictable and become life-threatening in an instant. Improve your chances of surviving by creating a action plan. Keep in mind you may only have minutes to leave your home. Here are a few simple steps to include in your plan.
- Stay informed. Follow the weather forecast. Even though the weather can change in an instant, today’s forecasting technology gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect. This will help you develop a action plan. Purchase a NOAA weather radio.
- Plan your escape route in advance. How can you get out of the path of Mother Nature? Do you have multiple escape routes identified? Will these escape routes lead you away from, or back into danger? Understanding which way to flee may seem trivial, but in a chaotic situation you won’t have time to plan alternate routes. Leave early if possible. Remember that others will be trying to evacuate the area as well.
- Know where you are going. Where do you plan to ride out the storm? A family member’s home? The mall? A hotel? Make sure your place of refuge isn’t in the path of destruction or difficult to get to.
- Have a full tank of gas in your vehicle. Stopping at a gas station while an F4 tornado is barreling down on you is not advisable. Fill up in advance of approaching weather.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged. A dead cell phone is useless if you become lost or stranded.
- Pack a bag with survival essentials. If you must evacuate your home, have a bag ready with items you will need to survive. This should contain:
- Spare glasses (you won’t have time to put your contacts in)
- Wallet containing your ID, cash and a credit card
- Fully charged cell phone
- Car keys
- Have your escape pack or “bug out bag” close at hand. You should be able to grab it and go.
- Have your escape clothes already laid out. The time spent selecting an outfit could cost you your life.
- Pets. Factor in how to safely transport your pets. What pet supplies do you need to bring?
- Call someone and let them know what your escape plan is. Let a friend or family member know where you plan to go and that you will check in with them when you get there. This way, if you don’t make it to your final destination (or fail to check in), they can alert the authorities.
The 2013 Halloween floods are a reminder that Mother Nature is unpredictable. We are at her mercy. The best chance we give ourselves is to be prepared to act when the time comes. Preparedness can mean the difference between surviving a catastrophe, or becoming a statistic.
What other precautions can people take to better prepare themselves for a natural disaster?