Sunday, December 4, 2022

Floodwaters bring dangers in and out of the home

Roads covered by flood waters can hide a variety of dangers (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of FEMA)
Roads covered by flood waters can hide a variety of dangers (HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of FEMA)

Recent rain has led to a number of roads and areas in parts of Hampton and Newport News being flooded.

Flood waters can pose dangers to people in cars and to people on foot. And rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

Both the American Red Cross and FEMA have good information on their websites, some of which is below.

Stay safe outdoors

Just six inches of moving water can sweep a person off their feet, while two feet of water can cause a car to float off the roadway.

  • Never wade into floodwater. Not only might you be swept into the water but hazards may lie beneath the water: glass, nails, and metal could lead to cuts and puncture wounds, while boards or other hidden obstacles could lead to sprained ankles or broken bones.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater. It can be contaminated with raw sewage from human or animal sources and can cause disease/illness.
  • Keep children out of, and away from, floodwater. Children should never swim in high water.
  • Never drive into floodwater. You risk being swept away in your car or becoming stuck if parts of the roadway have been washed away. Safely back away from roads that are covered by water.
  • Be on the lookout for downed power lines. Report them by calling 911.
  • Don’t forget animals and pets, who are also in danger from rising waters.

Stay safe indoors

Floodwater can cause dangers both during the flood and after.

Half of all flood related deaths happen in vehicles (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of FEMA)
Half of all flood related deaths happen in vehicles (HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of FEMA)
  • Monitor media outlets for updates on the situation.
  • If your home is at risk of flooding, you may need to shut off power and water. Check with utilities or authorities for more information and guidance.
  • Don’t use any electrical appliances that have been in floodwaters.
  • Never eat food that has come into contact with floodwater.
  • If you become trapped in your home go to the highest level and call for help.

If you are forced to evacuate your home, don’t return there until authorities say it is safe to do so. If you need to communicate with other family members, try texting when possible. Cellular networks can become overloaded during emergencies.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

Related Articles