S.C. Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week March 8th-14th
Monday, March 9th, 2020
Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed that South Carolina Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week for 2020 will be observed March 8-14.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service jointly sponsor the week to remind people that severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods are significant hazards in South Carolina and people need to take proper safety precautions.
SCEMD and the National Weather Service are promoting awareness of the hazards associated with severe weather, including tornadoes and floods, and the procedures that help keep people safe.
A highlight of the week will be the annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is conducted in close coordination with the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. The State Superintendent of Education is encouraging schools statewide to participate. During the drill, the National Weather Service will use a real-event code, TOR. The “TOR” code will activate tone-alert weather radios that are set to receive tornado warnings, and those radios will broadcast the exercise message.
The drill will be conducted Wednesday, March 11, at 9 a.m. Public schools, state and local Emergency Management, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, and others will participate in this annual event. The purpose of the drill is to test communication systems, safety procedures, mitigation processes, etc.
For further information on Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week, contact your county emergency management director, SCEMD or your nearest National Weather Service office. Additional resources can be found online at scemd.org/prepare/ and weather.gov/cae/SC_Severe_Weather_Preparedness_Week.html . The SC Emergency Manager App is also a great tool to help individuals plan and prepare for emergencies. It is free to download in the App Store and Google Play.
Prepare for any Emergency:
Develop an Emergency Action Plan for your home, place of business or other that includes what you would do in case of major emergency or disaster.
Develop a communication plan that enables you to reach out to family members when normal lines of communication are not functioning.
Have an emergency kit for your home, place of work and vehicle. Remember, "The First 72 are on You."
Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
Look for approaching storms.
Look for the following danger signs:
· Dark, often greenish sky
· Large hail
· A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
· Loud roar, similar to a train
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level.
If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
After a Tornado
Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
Stay out of damaged buildings.
Before a Flood
Avoid building in a flood prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, berms or floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
Consider purchasing sandbags in advance because they will be in high demand during a flood emergency. Review your insurance policy. Flood coverage is not part of most homeowner, mobile home or renter’s insurance policies. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.
During a Flood
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 can make you fall.
Do not drive in 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.
If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
After a Flood
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.