America is experiencing back to back hurricanes hitting with immense power. They will require billions of dollars for recovery. I just read that 15 billion in relief is headed towards Texas. Nature’s power is immense and we must prepare for it, as best as we can.
Watching our fellow Americans trudge through waters, return to homes that were underwater and deal with the aftermath of Harvey I came to wonder about my own plans for rising waters. Floods happen. As we spread concrete over the earth and dig up drainage land to build more homes and retailers floods will become more common. I have watched this happen all my life. The world around me became concretized and despite our best efforts the floods got worse and worse.
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
(1) The overflow of inland or tidal waters;
(2) The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source;
(3) Mudslides (i.e., mudflows) which are proximately caused by flooding and are akin to a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water and deposited along the path of the current.
A flood inundates a floodplain. Most floods fall into three major categories: riverine flooding, coastal flooding, and shallow flooding. Alluvial fan flooding is another type of flooding more common in the mountainous western states.
Flood waters are nasty. They are not just overflow from streams and rivers. Flood waters are backup from sewers. Sometimes, floods brake waste water pipes and all of that mixes into the flood waters as well. You will not want to spend too much time in this water and you will certainly not want to rely on this water for drinking. I want to give you some options.This hurricane season is far from over. In fact, we have Jose batting cleanup just behind Irma.
This article from Time explains the dangers of flood waters
As a wading fisherman I always have a working pair of hip waders. Get your hands on some lightweight boots that clip to your belt loops. These will keep you dry and keep your feet in good condition. A dark wet environment is the worst environment for feet. This is a breeding ground for things like athletes foot. The gas pumps dry up fast during a hurricane so you will be walking. Don’t underestimate the importance of foot care
If you get water in your waders they can become anchors so just be very careful of that. This is why I prefer the snap on hip waders to the strap on chest waders. Chest waders are much harder to get off. It’s even worse if you are weighed down in a current.
Water will be at a premium. We have watched bottled and jugged water disappear off the shelves in the blink of an eye. Its just how hurricane preparations go. My friend messaged me the other day and said:
“Everyone laughs at preppers until hurricane seasons comes”
This is a true statement. Snow storms and hurricanes are when most of us get a good belly laugh from the news footage of people scrambling and beating each other with snow shovels. Unfortunately, this moment to gloat will not help you with your own water issues.
I recommend putting the responsibility of hygiene on one of my favorite personal hygiene preps. Combat One’s waterless hygiene system comes in a foam, spray and their awesome tactical bath. The tactical bath is acutally made up of 8 thick wipes to cleanse your whole body with the antibacterial power of colloidal silver. God only knows what you will be wading through to get to safety. Clean up thoroughly without using a drop of water. If the taps are dry this hygiene prep designed for Spec Ops in the field will be worth its weight in gold.
Alternate Water Source
As I mentioned, you may be surrounded by water and have nothing safe to drink. Clean water is always an issue with hurricanes. You must have a storage plan and it must be flood proof. Those rain barrels outside will likely be knocked over or taken away by the floodwaters. If you are storing all of your water on the first floor it could also be compromised.
In my opinion, the very best option is the Water BOB. This is a plastic, food grade bag that conforms to your bathtub. It is then filled with water, prior to the hurricane, and the water is kept safely inside the bag. You can store 100 gallons of water inside this bag. Best of all, if you leave it in your second floor bathroom it will be safe from most flooding situations.
For a family of four 100 gallons of water will last you nearly a month!
If nothing else this gives you time to plan and react. It removes the immediate desperation.
Of course, the best way to handle flood waters is to get away before they come. The GOOD Bag (GET OUT OF DODGE) could be called by many names. When I think of evacuation I think of family. I am heading north to higher ground to see people I love. So the GOOD Bag is about travel by car. Your Get Home Bag would probably do you just the same. A bugout bag would suffice as well.
Your bag should contain everything you need to be away from home for a week. This is not a bugout bag where you need alternate forms of shelter. Focus more on things like changes of clothes. You are heading to a safe place and you will want to be comfortable when you get there. I always travel with my get home bag so this is an addition to that. Consider things like entertainment and maybe even that binder of your preparedness plans to review while you are waiting for the waters to recede. ( You do have hard copies of your preparedness plans right?)
Stay Ahead of the Storm
We are the most advanced creatures on the planet. We have technology that warns us about hurricanes weeks in advanced. Don’t be stubborn. Be smart. When its time to leave, leave. Stay ahead of the storm at all costs. Irma was moving at 14mph in the Caribbean. There will be plenty of time to pick up the pieces after the flood waters go back from whence they came.
For more information on preparing for and surviving floods READY.GOV has a great PDF I recommend you check out.