The Hazards And Health Risks Of Florence's Flood Waters

Florence's rains in the Carolinas are bringing floodwaters, and along with those waters come some nasty health risks.
Posted at 12:07 PM, Sep 18, 2018

Florence and its heavy rains are beginning to move Northeast, but the storm has already dropped more than 30 inches of rain on parts of the Carolinas. 

“We are flooded into Wilmington, roads in and out are rather impassable,” Juli Parks told Newsy. “Our concerns now and in the coming days would be where the floodwaters continue to move."

Those rains have trapped those who stayed during the storm. Juli Parks and her boyfriend live in Wilmington, North Carolina. Their home is on high ground, but she’s in one of dozens of areas across the Carolinas facing the effects of flooding. That widespread standing water poses a lot of health risks. 

Flood waters can be full of chemical contamination or raw sewage. They might also hide sharp objects. Experts say it’s hard to tell how deep they can go.

In the days following the storm, that standing water can be full of harmful bacteria, which can lead to diarrhea or stomach problems for people cleaning up. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects carrying vector-borne diseases.

The CDC warns of additional risks that come with floodwaters: drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning, downed power lines, unsafe food and water, and mold.

The recovery is underway, though. The CDC is monitoring medical shelters in case of disease outbreaks, as well as sharing public health messages and checking that food and water is safe. The National Guard, Coast Guard, and Marines are among those helping rescue stranded residents who need medical attention. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.