At least 500,000 homes and businesses in North and South Carolina are without power. Check out these stories tracking the impact of Hurricane Florence:
News reports tracking the effects of Hurricane Florence indicate there growing health threats from the flood waters in communities hard hit by the storm. CNN reports another 2 - 5 inches of rain, with localized amounts topping 8 inches could fall across central and southeastern North Carolina.
"Catastrophic and historic river flooding will continue for days across portions of the Carolinas," the National Weather Service said.
One of the hardest hit cities is Wilmington, North Carolina, where flooding is so severe that not even aid workers can get in to assist residents. At least 15,000 people are staying in shelters, according to reports. Some of the shelters are caring for pets.
The latest news reports on Hurricane Florence. Check back for further updates from our Crisis Response Blog.
The Water Quality Association warns that Hurricane Florence poses a threat to drinking water for people affected by the storm, but that there are precautions that can be taken to protect residents in the affected areas.
“This is a powerful hurricane and our concern is for anyone who may be caught in the path of Florence or who will be returning to their homes once the storm has passed,” said WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser. “Our main concern is for possible drinking water contamination.”
WQA's Crisis Response Blog is continuing to offer tips and helpful resources while also tracking the response to those affected by the hurricane and the aftermath of the severe weather.
Please feel free to share this and any of our flood resources.
Disasters, such as floods can gravely compromise public water systems. The conventional and highly appropriate response of municipalities, health departments, and other regulatory agencies in times of water emergencies is to notify all consumers to boil all water used for drinking or culinary purposes until bacteriological samples demonstrate that the water is safe, and/or until appropriate corrective actions have been completed.
Read More on boil water alerts and what to do...
Important reminder following severe flooding: Many home water treatment equipment products (including reverse osmosis systems) do not provide total protection against all types of disease-causing microorganisms that may be present in contaminated drinking water.
In many cases, products will be labeled with a statement such as: “Do not use with water that is microbiologically unsafe or of unknown quality without adequate disinfection before or after the system." Recommendations made in all cases should follow the manufacturer's instructions, if available.
Each manufacturer's equipment is different, and appropriate cleaning and sanitizing procedures may also differ accordingly. Following evidence of serious potential disease-causing contamination or in flood or other disaster stricken areas and after the discontinuance of a Boil Water Alert (BWA) has been issued and the water supply has been declared safe to use and drink, several sanitization steps should be taken to ensure that water treatment equipment is ready to use again.
Similarly, residents who get water from a well must be concerned about contamination of their water supply and should follow basic procedures to clean and sanitize their well and water treatment equipment before use, whenever a water test indicates that well contamination has occurred.
Check out our Flood Resources Page for more information.