Rain, Flash Flooding Possible with T.S. Julia
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, September 14, 2016) – South Carolina Emergency Management recommends that people pay close attention to weather associated with Tropical Storm Julia. The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center predict that T.S. Julia could produce four to seven inches of rain, with heavier rainfall amounts possible locally, and flash flooding in many parts of the state beginning today. SCEMD, county emergency managers and state agencies are watching the latest forecasts and planning as necessary.
SCEMD urges everyone to monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local media, to review emergency plans and to use caution as conditions warrant.
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. Three to six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into 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 can be quickly swept away.
Do not ever try to drive around or move barricades that are blocking a street.
Heed warnings issued by local public safety officials. When you hear an official alert, take safety precautions immediately.
Be aware that tropical storms can form tornadoes. Pay attention to NOAA Weather Radio alerts for your area and be prepared to seek shelter if NWS issues a tornado warning for your area.
Visit www.scemd.org for updates and preparation information
Social media: @SCEMD will be posting information using hashtags #Julia #scwx, #sctweets
All SCEMD social feeds are here: www.tinyurl.com/SocialSCEMD
Real-time road conditions from SCDOT: http://188.8.131.52/RoadConditions/default.aspx.
Business Reentry Certification
The fastest way for a community to recover from a disaster is by helping local businesses return to normal operations as quickly as possible. The Governor of South Carolina has approved into law a new measure that provides a system for post-disaster reentry certification for businesses and organizations that assist in the restoration of utilities and other services. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the S.C. Department of Commerce will administer the post-disaster reentry program. Please provide the following information to begin your reentry certification.
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Rescues for Pets, Livestock and Wildlife
Green, the senior director for rescues at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, traveled from Santa Rosa, California, to help South Carolina rescue and protect pets, horses and livestock. He was one of 25 people working under the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition dedicated to animal rescue following South Carolina’s historic Oct. 4 flooding.
After working in other sections of the state, Green arrived at the height of Georgetown County’s flooding. He entered near the Big Dam Swamp community that had become isolated by flooded roads.
“The horses were looking healthy,” Green said as his teams shuttled in horse feed. He fed several dogs whose owner was hospitalized and couldn’t get back to their home. He crawled through a second story window to leave enough food for several cats whose owner had been displaced.
In addition to NARSC, county animal shelters, Department of Natural Resources wildlife officers, the Large Animal Rescue Team, South Carolina Awareness and Rescue for Equines (SCARE), and other rescue organizations have been pulling traumatized animals from floodwaters, assessing damaged facilities and distributing food.
Rescue crews from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources made about 40 animal rescues since the flooding began Oct. 4.
In Ridgeville, S.C. DNR Captain Lee Ellis reported the evacuation of two pigs, four goats, 12 chickens, eight cats and three dogs from one family, and DNR Captain Karen Swink said officers have also rescued rabbits, squirrels and even a rattlesnake.
“Our guys rescue every living creature,” Swink said. “If you find animals or birds that are sick, injured or disoriented be careful and contact a trained wildlife rehabilitator.”
When the Francis Willis SPCA animal shelter in Summerville flooded, dozens of people showed up for emergency adoptions. Animals from other flooded shelters were taken to out-of-state shelters from Florida to Virginia.
“Local animal shelters have been doing a yeoman’s job in taking in rescued animals even though most shelters are always at or near capacity,” said Charlotte Krugler, DVM. Krugler is heading up the state’s efforts to coordinate resources, identify needs and send resources to affected areas.
The threat of flooding had Carolina Wildlife Center in Columbia scrambling to find alternative locations for the 400 squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and opossums in their care as well as a red-tailed hawk and two owls used for educational purposes.
“Volunteers gave an amazing amount of support in moving the animals and afterwards, in cleaning up the facility,” said Julie McKenzie, director of rehabilitation for the Center where all of the animals have returned.
Some pet owners were resistant to evacuating without their pets. Mary Louise Resch was at home Sunday afternoon watching Gov. Halley’s news conference on television when she heard a pounding on the door. A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy said, “We need you to evacuate. It’s not mandatory, but your home is projected to be underwater.”
Resch asked the deputy to help her capture her two Siamese cats, because she wasn’t leaving without them. The deputy put on gloves, and together they were able to get the panicked cats into crates. Resch had five minutes to gather belongings and leave. Fortunately, the hotel she evacuated to accepted pets, and she was able to report to her job at the State Emergency Operations Center representing Harvest Hope Food Bank and the South Carolina Food Bank Association for the next two weeks.
SCARE, set up a covered evacuation site for horses in West Columbia and made trailers available for people who needed help transporting their horses.
Columbia veterinarian Dr. Michael Privett, head of the Large Animal Rescue Team, had a near-death experience when the flooding began. He was called at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, and informed that 10 horses were in a barn that was flooding rapidly in northern Richland County. Privett, his wife, and three other members of LART, obtained a boat and headed towards the barn, a place Privett had visited before, but he could not quickly find it because landmarks had disappeared under water.
The rescuers heard two dogs barking and headed the boat in their direction and found them standing on the only high spot around, an area about 15 feet by 40 feet and about 300 yards from the barn.
Privett and his team found the distressed horses with water up to their heads. They led three by boat – the horses swimming by the sides while the rescue team cupped their heads to keep them away from the boat motor. The going wasn’t easy. The fences were under water and when the horses’ legs hit the fence, they thrashed. Privett encouraged them over, and when they finally made it to the high spot, they left the horses with the dogs and returned to lead the next group.
“She would have none of it,” Privett said. “I learned a lesson, don’t fight a horse in water in a boat.”
Privett had gotten out of the boat to subdue the mare, a mistake he regrets. In his rain boots and rain slicker he found he couldn’t stay above the water. He surfaced a couple of times, saw the boat’s lights about 50 feet away and knew the boat couldn’t get to him in time.
“We’ve been trained on how to right over-turned horse trailers and how to properly drag a horse, but we’ve never had training on rescuing 10 horses in 10 feet of water,” Privett said. “This is a whole new approach on what water can add to a rescue mission.”