OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – From flash floods caused by heavy rain to intense snowmelt as the temperatures warm up, various kinds of flooding can be quite a significant problem throughout West Virginia. And local flooding in areas of lower elevation remains a consistent problem that is difficult to find solutions for, but regardless, the residents of these areas are forced to deal with the consequences.
“The people that live this way and back this way going towards Oak Hill, it floods so bad it goes into their yards,” says Carol Vance, Assistant Manager of Shirley’s Market in Scarbro. “And if your car sits low, you got to be careful because you might flood out. It’s horrible!”
Some floods develop slowly, while others roll through in mere minutes, so this can add to the difficulty of knowing what to do and how to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings. But there are ways you can and should prepare for flooding, especially if you do live in an area that is more prone to the issue.
“If you think your house is susceptible to getting water in the basement, try to put everything in a water-tight container. The plastic storage bins are a lot better than cardboard boxes,” says Chris Graham, Lieutenant for Beckley Fire Department. “A couple of things we must worry about too are utilities. If you think there is water in your basement and could be up to your electrical outlets, please don’t step in there because it’s an electrocution hazard. So, if you can, and you know water is coming, try turning your power off in your basement.”
It’s also best to take extra caution while driving in high water. The CDC reports that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when vehicles drive through hazardous flood water.
“Even a half-inch of water going across a roadway can sweep a car away, it doesn’t take a lot. We ask that people don’t drive through high-water. If it’s over your tires please don’t go into it because the road could be washed away,” Graham says.
Finally, be extra cautious around swift-moving water. And make sure to keep your gutters, ditches, and storm drains around your home cleaned out from any litter and debris so the water has a clear path to move.