Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins encourages citizens of the City of Columbia and Richland County to remain on alert over the next several days as the potential for record flooding and flash floods are expected in our area.
The Columbia Fire Department is ready to respond for any incident as a result of the pending weather conditions, but recommends that the best course of action for residents is to remain in your homes and off the roadways unless evacuation is necessary.
Moving water is a very powerful force that is easily underestimated, even by firefighters. Water weighs 62.4 lbs. per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6–12 mph. Six inches of water can sweep a person off their feet; only 1–2 feet of water can cost lives; and 2 feet of water can float a car. The U.S. National Weather Service shows through the following video link, https://youtu.be/eI6mIlHKrVY the dangers of driving through flooded waters.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has setup a toll-free telephone line has been established for public inquiries associated with the severe weather conditions in the state.
Citizens with storm-related questions can call 1-866-246-0133. The Public Information Phone System (PIPS) will operate 24-hours a day while hazardous conditions persist.
People with life-threatening emergencies should contact 911.
Chief Jenkins urges residents to follow these safety tips (additional: http://www.ready.gov/floods) during and after flooding:
•Water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
•Stay Informed: Monitor local media (including NOAA Weather Radio), internet and social media for information and updates.
•Practice Electrical Safety: Don’t go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises –get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
•Avoid Flood waters: Do not walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help.
•Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards (i.e. sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc.). A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.
•Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Be sure to lock your home as you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
•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.
The following streets and intersections are prone to flooding during heavy rain events. Please avoid these areas during and immediately after heavy rains.
Main and Whaley
Gervais and Laurens
Blossom and Henderson
Blossom and Saluda
Harden and Santee
Monroe and Maple
Two Notch and Read
Wheat and Amherst
Adger and Devine
Wheat and Sumter
Wheat and Pickens
Heyward and Ravenel
Pickens between Wheat and Green
Barnwell and Pendelton
Harden and Read
Harden and Calhoun
Franklin and Marion
Franklin and Sumter
Columbia College and N. Main
Bull and Laurel
Disclaimer: Locations above are places known to be flood prone. Actual flooding locations will depend on storm strength, duration and location.