Hurricane Eta showed us record rainfall with two landfalls last week, but it is the widespread flooding many citizens are concerned about right now. Ten out of the first twelve days of November were brought on with heavy rainfall, and that water is now lingering. With only about two weeks left of hurricane season, it is crucial that we keep in mind the serious nature of these storm systems and the havoc they can wreak long after they are gone.
Hurricane Eta Plays Dirty
This past Sunday, Eta made landfall but she didn’t stop there. Days later, she came back and touched down near Cedar Key with winds at about 50 miles per hour. As she moved off into the Atlantic, Eta continued to pour rain onto the state of Florida, leaving many areas saturated with water. In addition to heavy rains and strong winds, the storm created life-threatening rip current conditions for anyone looking to surf. On her way out, Eta made way for a cold front to come through, disappointing homeowners who desperately needed a sunny day’s heat to soak up some of this rain. Southern Florida has especially had some broken records in terms of rainfall this week. Some of the most flooded areas are Miramar, which suffered 14 inches of rain within 24 hours, and Pembroke Pines with 13 inches of rain in 24 hours.
Eta Shows No Mercy to Farmers in the Everglades
Several areas are waterlogged, and it is becoming a dangerous emergency for crops and animals in this part of Florida. To put things in perspective, consider the 14 inches of rain Miramar received in 24 hours. Now, compare that to the Everglades’ 50 inches of rain it has received on average since March, and that is supposed to be a yearly average. There is a panic in the area because the amount of time it took for the water to fall upon the land is nowhere near the amount of time it will take to get rid of the same water. People are going to extremes to remedy the situation. Water managers for certain endangered species sanctuaries have resorted to opening literal flood gates to alleviate some of this water pressure, but the damage is pretty heavy. Some farmers have pointed out that their crops were already struggling from a particularly wet October, so Eta really was the last straw. With such a shortage of crops, farmers have started calling local grocery stores that stock their items to let them know inventory is low, if existent at all.
KMW’s Guide to Navigating Flood Waters
Flood water poses numerous threats long after the storm is gone. If you have flooded water near your home or neighborhood, be weary of displaced animals and contaminated water. The longer the water is sitting, the more infested the water becomes. Read below for a quick list of tips curated by our attorneys at Keller Melchiorre & Walsh.
- Do not eat or drink anything that you suspect was made with flood water.
- Use boiled water or bottled water to bathe yourself and clean items. If you have bottled water on hand, use that, but boiling the water you have at home is an understandable choice that is more affordable.
- Do not allow kids to play in the water. Keep a close eye on children and be weary of the toys that were left outside.
- Wash any toys that come into contact with the water. Being proactive and cleaning everything that was outside might take up some of your time, but you will never regret being extra careful.
- Be especially careful not to touch flood water if you have an open cut or wound. Even if the wound is now bandaged, steer clear of the flood water to avoid illness. If you show any signs of illness, be sure to contact your primary care physician immediately.
- Conserve your water and do not pump septic tanks. Some people will be tempted to do this, but it is not immediately necessary and could cause you more problems later.
- Wear protective gear like gloves and boots if you have to touch the water. Be sure to cover children, as well.
- Clean items with hot water and a bleach solution (1/4c. Bleach per gallon of water).
- Throw away items that cannot be cleaned or sterilized, like mattresses, drywall, and rugs. The longer you keep them inside the home, the more of a danger they pose to the integrity of the house.
Contact Us Today
The attorneys at Keller Melchiorre & Walsh understand what it is like to live in Florida during hurricane season. If you have property damage due to flooding, reach out today to get started on your insurance claim. Additionally, we can also help you file any claims for hurricane damage you may have had this past week. Click here for our Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Hurricane season is never easy, so give yourself a break by letting us lighten your legal stress with sound advice and experience.