Occoquan Braces for Flooding
Occoquan, Va. –– Occoquan is bracing for the effects of flooding caused by Hurricane Irene
The area along Mill Street, the town’s main thoroughfare, is prone to flooding during storms.
The hurricane’s storm surge could also be a problem for the town nestled on the Occoquan River, which is now expected to be at least one to two feet above normal river levels by the time Irene rolls into the Potomac Communities early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
“Occoquan has had a significant amount of experience with storm surges created by hurricanes. We can expect flooding along Mill Street, as well as power outages of varying duration,” said Occoquan Mayor Ernie Porta.
Just west of the town lies a large dam used to contain the Occoquan Reservoir. Porta also issued a warning for anyone thinking of going to the dam during the storm to observe the river.
“…the views of the Occoquan River can be quite dramatic during and after a storm. If you choose to see what things are like along the river, please exercise caution when doing so. The Occoquan High Dam is not a flood control dam; there are no sluice gates to regulate the flow of water from the reservoir. Consequently, whatever comes down the river is coming over the top of the dam at nature’s command, so please use sound judgment,” said Porta.
He also asked residents to check on neighbors during the storm.
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Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department has tips on what to do before and during a flood:
BEFORE the FLOOD
- Keep your automobile fueled.
- Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit.
- NOAA Weather Radio (battery-powered portable).
- Extra batteries.
- Change the batteries during spring and fall when you change your clocks (spring forward, fall back).
- Can opener (manual).
- First-aid kit.
- Canned food, non-perishable foods, bottled-water.
- Rubber boots, rubber gloves.?
- Additional clothing.
- Develop a family evacuation plan.
- Discuss the plan and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of flooding.
DURING the FLOOD
- Get out of areas subject to flooding and seek higher ground.
- Avoid underpasses, underground parking garages, and basements during or after heavy rains.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown (TADD).
- DO NOT attempt to cross flowing streams.
- NEVER drive through flooded roadways — six inches of water can stall a vehicle!
- If your vehicle stalls, get out and move to higher ground.
- 2 feet of moving water can sweep a vehicle, including SUVs, downstream!
- If walking in water that is above your ankles, stop and turn around – six inches of rushing water can sweep you off your feet!
- At night, be cautious when driving or walking, visibility is poor and it becomes harder to recognize flood dangers.
- Children should NEVER play around high water, storm drains, streams, ditches, etc.
- When conditions are dangerous, DO NOT camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers, etc.