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Disaster Preparation Series 10: Flood
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Disaster Preparation Series 10: Flood

It all started with God when he said, “Noah, build an ark.” Bill Cosby use to play the role of Noah. He said, “Right! What’s an ark?”

His next answer was, “Right! What’s a cubit?”

In the long version, as I remember, he goes on discussing what it would be like to take care of thousands of animals and their waste until the water subsided. Take a look at his sketch on YouTube.

As funny as Bill Cosby was in that sketch, flood is not funny, taking the lives of people and animals and destroying billions of dollars worth of property.

Flood comes in different ways. It doesn’t have to rain for forty days and forty nights as recorded in the Bible. I was in a flash flood in Denver when I found water up to my car windows I a matter of minutes. I watched a policeman walk along with his hands in the water and wondered what he was up to. Finally he emerged with his motorcycle from the rushing current of water headed south.

My cousin’s son was washed away with another lad when on a scouting trip in Southern Utah. They never found him. Just recently I was told they finally found a few bones after many years of being buried in the sand. DNA will tell us if they are my relative’s bones or his boy scout friend.

Years ago, right after I got back from Korea, I took my wife’s brothers up Cole Creek Canyon in Utah. I noticed that the hills had been burned off by forstest fire. We fished for a few minutes when one drop of rain hit my cheek. Although the fish were biting, I threw the boys in the car and raced down the canyon. In about a half mile, the road was washed out. We had to wait for hours before the road crew open the road again. I may as well have finished catching my limit. Such flash floods were common where we lived in AZ.

Folks tend drive their cars in shallow flash flood streams thinking the water is only a few inches deep, that the car is heavy, and that they will be perfectly safe. Surprise! The car is washed down stream in a flash and they are in trouble. At a minimum they will have to get a toe truck to retrieve their car. Some folks are killed doing this stunt.

Even walking down a dry stream bed in the west can be dangerous. The sky is clear. It is a beautiful day. Then suddenly comes a rush of water and debris with terrible consequences.

Our annual terror in the Midwest is the rivers which climb over their banks and levees and send folks scurrying for sand bags to build temporary dikes. Reservoirs can help control flooding except in cases like here in Idaho in 1976 when the Teton Dam failed, killing people in nearby campgrounds and flooding the countryside below the dam destroying homes and livestock.

We have evidence here in the west of prehistoric floods. One was when Lake Bonneville broke lose at Red Rock Pass and flooded the Snake River Plain. I mentioned in another article in this series that we have boulders of all sizes to remind us of that flood, many rounded in to pumpkin size smaller stones. But before that during the ice age, great ice lakes poured out their contents when natural ice dams failed.

Typhoons and hurricanes cause great flooding. I saw some of the damage caused by Agnes in Pennsylvania and New York. The company where I worked was flooded and production was stopped for weeks. My basement was flooded there and I immediately installed a sump pump in my basement as to not have that happen again. Some of the worst river and typhoon flooding in the world occurs in China and other parts of Asia. Millions have died. In 1931 over one million people died when the Yellow River flooded. Over three million may have died. Disease comes after flood and that is included in the toll.

To prepare for flood in the United States, think twice before you buy a house. Find out what the water levels are for a fifty year and a one-hundred year flood. See an insurance agent and see if flood insurance is needed in your area. You can buy it from the government. But also see what flood damage is covered by your home insurance as well as by the federal insurance.

Try to find a house high and dry.

One of the pathetic things I see during flooding is people trying to recover personal items from the water and mud. The time to protect important papers, albums, and other thinks, that are destroyed or damaged by water, is before the flood occurs. You may want to have such items stored in waterproof containers or bags, and some should be stored at a safe place outside your home. Does your sister live on a hill?

I was flooded in the army one time. We had air mattresses and were sleeping in pub tents. The rain came and instantly we were rushing down the Oklahoma hillside on our air mattresses. Pretty funny because none was hurt. In Korea, everything turned to mud creating dangerous situations for soldiers who lived underground.

If you live in a flood zone, plan for evacuation. Have emergency food and water and a place to go until the flood subsides. Flashlights, medications, and personal items should be included in your emergency survival kit.

Stay dry!

Fly Old Glory!


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