Rainfall causes flooding across much of region
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:01


Heavy rains that inundated the region last week yielded numerous reports of property damage and flooding.

 by Nicole Rodman

    Homes and businesses across the region are continuing to dry out after record-setting rainfall caused flooding across much of the area last week.
    The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that 6.3 inches of rain fell at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport last Tuesday — making it the second wettest day since record-keeping began in 1871.
    Totals were even higher in areas south of the city. Parts of Anne Arundel County received as much as 10.3 inches of rain, while Dundalk received 8.5 inches.
    Locally, flash flooding was reported at Sollers Point Road and Pine Street, Dundalk Avenue and Cameron Drive, Ives Lane and on Liberty Parkway and Merritt Boulevard, among other locations.
     While last week’s downpour was unusual, rain and thunderstorms are fairly common during the summer months.
    By taking a few common-sense precautions, citizens can stay safe before, during and after severe storms.
    As Capt. Leonard Ledford of the Baltimore County Fire Department writes on the county blog, citizens should pay attention to weather warnings issued by the NWS.
    The NWS uses the term “watch” to indicate the potential for severe weather; the term “warning” means severe weather is imminent or already occuring.
    The NWS terms a thunderstorm “severe” when it produces wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or hail one inch in diameter.
    The American Red Cross also offers many flood and storm safety tips:
    •Prior to severe weather, prepare for storms by keeping bushes and trees trimmed.
    •An emergency kit, including non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, medications, cell phones and chargers, copies of personal documents and cash, are helpful to have on hand prior to a storm.
    •When a thunderstorm warning is issued, seek shelter immediately in a building or vehicle with closed windows.
    •If unable to reach safety indoors, avoid high ground, water, trees and metal objects.
    •During a storm, unplug all electronic quipment and close blinds, shades or curtains. Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
    •Avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment or plumbing as these items can conduct electricity from a lightning strike.
    •Drivers should pull over, turn on emergency flashers and wait until the storm subsides.
    •Drivers should never attempt to drive through flooded roadways; even a small amount of water can carry a car.
    •After a storm, stay away from flooded roads, storm-damaged areas and downed power lines.
    •In the case of flooding, retreat to higher ground and avoid floodwaters.
    •After a flood, return home only when it is deemed safe by officials.
    •Watch out for damage to the home, natural gas or propane leaks or downed power lines.
    •Inspect all food and water. Discard items that have been touched by floodwater, including canned food, utensils and baby bottles.
    For more thunderstorm safety tips, visit the Baltimore County Now blog at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/Baltimore CountyNow.
    For more disaster preparedness tips, including information on storms and floods, visit www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster.