COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Central Ohio Emergency Management officials want to make sure central Ohioans are prepared for possible flooding Friday, and they said people can take certain precautions before and during a storm to stay safe.
Rain, wind and floods are the threats officials are keeping a close eye on.
“We continue to monitor through Ohio Emergency Management Office, which is a 24-hour watch,” Executive Director Sima Merick said.
Merick said they have eyes all over the state, but some parts are more of a concern than others.
“I think we watch our usual suspects,” she said. “In Prospect, and of course south of Columbus, they seem to have areas that come up and flood, and can stay and flood for a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean that people are being impacted.”
Being prepared is key, Merick said. “For homeowners I would make sure that your drains and your downspouts and stuff are clear of debris, right? Because you don’t want that ponding around your foundations,” she said.
It’s vital to know the difference between a watch and a warning, she added.
“A watch means to be ready, a warning means to take action,” Merick said.
Merick also recommended having a communication plan with your family. She also cautioned to never drive through flood water.
“Turn around, don’t drown. Don’t drive around signs. The signs are there for your safety. They are there to say, ‘There’s a problem up here and you really should not drive through it,’ because it only takes six inches of water to knock people off their feet. A car can start to become buoyant and float in a foot of water,” Merick said.
She added that people should avoid walking through flood water, too, because not only could it contain bacteria and sharp objects, but it is also possible the ground below is not intact.
Central Ohio Emergency Management officials are always looking at statistics from previous years to better prepare for future storms, she said.
If you are in immediate risk during a storm, call 911 or local emergency management.