As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida and the Southeast here is some places you can look for information and some things you should think about when returning to areas hit by the Hurricane.
For information on Preparing for the Hurricane and Recovering from the Storm, Dr. Pamela Turner has updated information on the UGA FACS Disaster and Recovery webpage and the UGA Extension webpage has a link to information.
Emergency Management Personnel — As the Hurricane approaches and leaves, local emergency management agency personnel will be in contact with State and Federal Emergency Management Personnel on the latest conditions in and outside your local area.
Some other notes:
Drinking Water — Private well — If your water source is a private well be cautious when getting water from the well if it was overtopped with floodwater. If flood water got into the well (and when you have power to run the pump) there are a couple things you should do 1) run the pump and discharge water outside the house for an ample amount of time to exchange water in the well at least 2 or 3 times and 2) test the water as soon as you can.
To know if you have exchanged enough water you will have to calculate the volume of water in your well by the following:
Divide the diameter of the well (in inches) by 2 and then multiply that number (the radius of the well) by itself, then multiply that number by 3.1416 (or pi) by the depth of water (in inches) in the well. The depth of water in the well is going to have to be from knowledge of the depth of the well and the height of water in the well. Once you have that number (this is the number of cubic inches in the well) Divide it by 231 to get gallons of water in the well. To exchange 2 or 3 times that amount of water then run your pump long enough to pump that amount of water from the well.
An example would be: For a 4 inch well that has 100 feet of water in it the calculation would look like
If you have a bored well the calculation would be the same just a larger diameter and smaller depth.
To find depth to water you could do a couple different things: if you can see the water in the well, lower a heavy object tied to a string down the well and measure the length of string until you see the object touch the water. In a deep well, lower a heavy object like above until you hear the object hit the water and measure the length of string. If you cannot hear the object hit the water, another way (but less accurate) is to drop a small stone into the well and count or time the seconds it takes for the stone to hit the water (you will have to listen closely for this). Multiply this number by 32.2 and that will give you depth to water. Knowing the depth of the well and the depth from surface subtract the two to get the height of the water column for the above calculation,
Once the water has been pumped, I would further suggest boiling the water for drinking and food preparation until you can get a sample tested at the UGA Water Lab or another water testing lab.
Municipal Water –If you have to get water from a municipal source find out if there is a boil water order in place prior to drinking. If there has been any issues with the treatment plant or broken lines, bacteria could get into the water lines, so boiling the water will kill the bacteria. Again, find out about any boil water orders from your local supplier. This should also be broadcast on local radio stations and TV stations.
Moving Water — be careful of moving water. If the water is moving rapidly then it can knock you off of your feet and carry you downstream. Also, be careful of driving through water, again, rapidly moving water may look safe but has a lot of force and momentum in its favor.
Standing Water — If when helping with recovery, if you see a powerline in a pool of water be careful. The powerline may be energized. If the pool of water has a sewage smell try not to get into the water. There could be a sewage leak and the pool could contain raw sewage.
Flooding – Person — With the expected amount of rain, flooding can and will most likely be a problem in some areas. The biggest thing with flooding areas is to try and stay out of the water is possible. The moving water can have more power in it than you expect or it might seem. If you have to get in the water try to always be in contact with something that can help support you.
Flooding – Home — If your house is flooded, Pam Turner has some information on the FACS Disasters Webpage on how to deal with flooded homes after the flood. During recovery information on Mold can be found on this webpage under the Flood and Mold Cleanup link.
Overall, as the Hurricane approaches and leaves, use the links above to stay updated on the weather and be careful with drinking water and moving water. When cleaning-up after the storm be careful of live powerlines, moving water, and mold.