NC disaster taught me 1st hand how vunerable we are : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Being in NC, we are suffering along with our neighbors through the FLOYD storm.

Needless to say, you can SEE how vunerable people are in just a few short days.

There is no fresh water. In Rocky Mount, people are standing in 3 hour lines just to get a jug of water. There is no gas. There is precious few dry or accessable food supplies. The electricity will not be on for weeks in many sections.

People are panicked here. Looting even in the face of sheer family heartbreak is occuring. There is no honor among theieves. Why do you feel protected?

We have seen the best and the worst come out in people in just a few short days.

We have seen that people don't have basic supplies in their homes even for storms, much less chaotic breakdowns of supply distribution, utilities, and employment.

What type of panic do you think will happen then - on a worldwide basis?

If you haven't put yourself through a trial weekend committed to testing your self-sufficiency with the supplies, generator, water, etc on hand that you plan to use for Y2K, you'd best do it now.

As for us, we realized we are extremely short on water supplies. Over a 4 day period, we consumed/used 1/3 of our total stored water supplies. We will now be doing something about that - immediately. Our estimation of adequate is not adequate enough.

Pray for the afflicted in this storm crisis. I personally am thankful to be alive and to have learned quite a few things about "preparedness" during this awful time.

At least flood waters will receed within a somewhat predictable amount of time.

There is no predidictions for the "end" of Y2K sufficient enough to be noteworthy.

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), September 18, 1999


Karen, My best wishes/prayers/images are with you and your community for a speedy recovery.

Do you mind my asking, how much water did you have stored?

-- Shelia (, September 18, 1999.

Thanks for sharing karen!

Inspires me to "do more" on water too.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 18, 1999.

karen, best wishes for a speedy recovery, health and safety.

On 14Sep99 Walt Disney Resorts was telling us to fill our bathtubs with water. Didn't need to as the storm passed by, but makes the point of how important water is.

I have empty 2 litre soda pop containers for water .... but I'm going to locate a 55 gallon drum ASAP. Thanks for the heads up.

-- Cable_man (, September 18, 1999.


Good luck to you and your communities. Looks like this "three day storm" analogy is going to have some revisions after this.

-- Brian (, September 18, 1999.

See also...

OT - ? Millions still must boil water, live without power and telephones 001QeG

Red Cross had resources for only one shelter in Rocky Mount, NC; volunteers set up another 001QXr

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 18, 1999.

There are 5 people in our household. 2 adults, 3 kids. We had approx. 241 (3)Litre bottles of water stored. We used the "store as you go" method since about Feb. of this year with quite a few of our 3 litre bottles used in the garden as automatic, slow-drip feeders for plants. I had often considered getting the heavy guage storage water bags, but had not purchased one. I ordered two today as soon as the electricity came on.

We were very conservative with the water, but toilet sanitation, dishes, cooking, and personal water use even on a severely restricted level of use still depleted the water rapidly. We didn't think the kids required as much water as they actually do. Just in normal activity, we didn't see what is actually used and consumed on an everyday basis. I guess we're just too close to it to really take inventory of it. We didn't fully bathe or wash hair either! (ick).

We do have a stream by our house. Also being ordered monday is a Berkley water filter. This will give us the resources to draw and fully filter our water for consumption without threat of running out completely.

Also discovered (but not known before this disaster), is that we needed a special 240 plug to use for running the well pump with the generator. We didn't have the well pump working from the generator, so we had to totally depend on the treated water we stored for everythinng.

Should this have been discovered after the roll-over, I doubt seriously that we would be able to find such a specialized plug within a reasonable amount of time from any store in our remote area. We now have time to find it and solve that problem.

I can't stress enough how important it may be now for folks to consider a "self-imposed black-out weekend" if you haven't been in this type of survival mode before now. It wouldn't be necessary for those who have already used their generators and other tools for survival during electrical outages or weather related disasters that have homebound them for many days.

I'm glad to say the rest of our supplies, (batteries, foods, cooking methods, gas supplies for generator, etc) were very adequate with bunches left over that would have lasted for more than a month with moderate restrictions.

The biggest surprise as I mentioned was the rate of water use.

I will venture a quick statement about how people will react after the first of the year. During this natural disaster, people have been angry and hurt - but there is no one to blame. Their anger is stymied by the fact that they can't lash out at anyone responsible. In this anger, many folks have given in to their worst side by stealing and looting from people that have lost everything with their houses in ruins. In the case of Y2K, I would venture to say that the crooks are already planning their "Takes", and anger will be fueled in people who normally wouldn't react in this manner because there WILL be someone to blame - The Government.

I'm afraid their near-silence and deceit will cost innocent people their lives due to the anger, fear, and revenge attitude that Y2K will spawn. Nothing can compare to desparation.

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), September 18, 1999.

Brian - Looks like this "three day storm" analogy is going to have some revisions after this.

Boy, isn't THAT the truth. We thought we were pretty much in the green. Now we're back in the red mode.

The wildest thing is the unsanitary condition of the water that is around peoples homes. Water is all around but many are desparate for it! Without proper filtration or treatment for that water, it is as good as having none.

People in cities trusting that the water treatment plants will be fully operating and correctly operating may have a large suprise. Then add sewage treatment/disposal problems.

I did forget to mention that we are setting up two gravity based water collection barrels that will be mounted outside the windows of our bathrooms to collect rainwater and flow into the toilets for flushing. (Mounted higher than the window level). That will be done within the next 2 weeks. We are fortunate not to be in apartments and can build on our home as we need. I am not worried about asthetics at this point. Sure, barrels may look stupid as a bald cat, but hey, we've learned a few things these past few days! ;-)

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), September 18, 1999.

Karen, can't thank you enough for the specifics on your water use and the heads up. Now I am thinking that my water storage plan is in need of review. Maybe I'll haul some of my jugs out and see how many I'd use in a day.

Good luck getting back to normal.

-- semper paratus (getting_thirsty@just_thinking.aboutit), September 18, 1999.

Karen, with children I would imagine water usage goes up significantly. I already filter my water on a regular basis, just cause I don't trust the city's system. We use that water for all drinking and cooking. I use approximately 3 gallons every two days just for my husband and I. When the grandchildren are here and I'm mixing juices for them I use 3 gallons in one day.

And this doesn't include washing dishes or people.

I've got four barrels and 4 of the water bags (200 and 110 gallons). Just haven't figured out where I can keep them since they will be so heavy when filled.

-- Shelia (, September 19, 1999.

I was really surprised when I heard that people did not have the basics in their homes to survive for 3 days, much less a month. Perhaps it is because mt parents went through the depression and I live where we expect an earthquake, but I have always "been prepared" for at least a couple of months. The one difficult area for me has been water. It helps that I live in Seattle, where we can count on the rain.

If there are no major problems with Y2K, the lessons learned should be remembered and people can only benifit from practicing what they have done for Y2K. I have a suggestion for disposing of unneeded supplies after Y2K if they prove not to be needed.

There are a lot of seniors who live from one social security check to another, barely able to buy "healthy " food, especially after having to pay for their medications.

There are a lot of organizations that can put you into contact with those seniors in need and it would not take much to stock their pantries with staples. Then perhaps they could buy some healthy perishables. It is great that some people had their Y2K supplies on hand for the aftermath of the hurricane. Too bad amost people didn't. You can use this situation to convince people to prepare for "any" unforseen situation, if you cannot convince them to do it for Y2K.

This may help you understand why those you call "pollys" are "prepared" even though they do not believe Y2K will be as bad as you think it will.

-- Cherri (, September 19, 1999.

Karen, your eloquent first-hand account will spur more people to better preparation than any list from a Y2K expert! I hope you're back to near normal in short order and that your friends and family are also safe.

I'm in Durham, not too far in distance but a world away in disaster conditions. If you're ever out this way, please let Diane know and she will forward your mail to me--perhaps we can have a cup of coffee from the, um, appropriate quantity I have stashed!

-- Old Git (, September 19, 1999.

I bought several large trash barrels from the Dollar store,at $7.50 each.I put 3 in the back yard and 3 in the garage filled with water and bleach for water storage to flush the toilet,wash dishes and to clean up.When they are empty,I will use to collect the rain from the roof.I also have the blue barrels for drinking water and a water filter.The large trash barrels are a cheap way to store extra water.

-- maggie (, September 19, 1999.

While I too feel it of utmost importance to be prepared, you have to understand that flooding as has happened in NC will destroy your preparations with water. Maybe you have yours on the second floor and they are safe. But most likely the GIs in the badly flooded and polluted areas have lost their water and food preps to flood. We solved our water problem by having a second will drilled and putting on a hand pump. The casing of this well is 14 inches above ground. So any water that floods the area that deep is going to pollute the well. 14 inches of water would flood my house. Maybe the top buckets in the "stash" would survive if the current was not sufficient to tumble everything. What I am trying to say is that you cannot prepare for everything. A lot of the people in NC that are in dire straits probably were GIs and were prepared for y2k. Those of us who were not hit or hit seriously by Floyd are very grateful. But who knows when your turn may come. A flood is the worst. In a fire its gone! You aren't spending the next two years of your life trying to salvage something. Also, most everyone has fire insurance, hardly anyone has flood insurance. Been through one flood (even had flood insurance) and have said since then, that a "strange fire would break out in my flooded house". The people who lost their businesses to fire,in that one town, will realize quickly that they were the lucky ....providing they have insurance.


-- Taz (, September 19, 1999.

Thanks again for sharing karen and company. It's the first-hand "lessons learned" that are SO valuable!

If anyone needs to dash over to the Prep Forum... the link...

TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum (Y2K Prep Only Discussions)

http:// TimeBomb%202000%20%28Y2000%29%20Preparation%20Forum

(More water... she mutters.)


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 19, 1999.

Just a suggestion. Try a cheap above ground kiddie pool. They hold quite a bit and can be used for rain catchment automatically.

I purchased a PUR water filter yesterday, feeling pretty good about that decision. Think I'll buy some more filters for it.

-- Gordon (, September 19, 1999.

Also from NC--ditto to EVERYTHING Karen said.

We pulled out DOZENS of "y2k prep" items that we had stored before Floyd came. Used MANY of them: flashlights, lanterns, ice chests, batteries, sleeping bags, gas cans, water carriers, thermoses, battery-powered clocks, battery-powered TV, weather-alert radio, plastic sheeting, bungie cords, duct tape, canned food, camp stove, propane cylinders, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, TV-sound radios, battery-powered fans, paper plates, paper cups, and so forth. On stand-by were the bottled water, the generator (with gas, oil, proper plugs and extention cords, and EXPERIENCE running one), the deep-cycle battery and charger, some 12-volt appliances, the chainsaw (gas and oil), the spare propane tank, plastic bags for sanitation/waste, heavy duty rubber gloves, bleach, disinfectants, a water purifyer, our packed "bug-out" bags, and everything else we have bought in the last year and a half in preparation for disasters and disruptions.

After seeing what has happened in the eastern part of our state, the blue water barrels are going to the top of the "to-buy" list, STAT. Had some spare trash cans on hand, but we're going blue barrels, too.

Folks, never underestimate what you will need in an emergency. And don't let anyone tell you you're "nuts" to be buying all that stuff. It's bad enough to be facing the eye of a storm, but doing it unprepared is unthinkable. Every time we laid our hands on a y2k supply item, we were grateful that we were just looking for it in the garage that day, not at Wal-Mart.

Even now, after the storm, there are bare places on the grocery store shelves, and we are still using things that we have in stock at home, until they become available again.

Now stop reading the bb and get out there and work on your preps!!

-- We're OK but (, September 19, 1999.

Hope this is an appropriate place to throw this up:

Lay in a stock of rubber gloves, extra bleach, & isopropyl or 'rubbing' alcohol.

I was raised on the concept of 100 & 200 year floods, and got to see 2 first hand within a couple of months a few years ago.

We have many friends that didn't realize they were raising their families in flood plains. We were on higher ground {though it did take out essential infrastructure}.

Those that pitched in to muck out the living spaces came down with 'the rash'. Poison oak lines the waterways here, and was scoured out along with stuff from a sewage plant, agricultural runoff & other sutff I don't want ot think about this AM.

If you know you've been exposed to poison qak, ivy, or sumac - isopropyl breaks up the oil that cause the rash { note: I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV}.


Your other thread about polluted water reminded me of the significant algae bloom that we experienced off the coast in the aftermath of these floods. The fertilizers that ranoff eventually attracted a good display for whale watchers a season or two later. Conversely, predators which depend on marine invertebrates were negatively impacted by silting which choked out lots of little critters. We're probably still seeing the impact of that atop the foodchain.

-- flora (***@__._), September 19, 1999.

I became a GI on January 3, 1999. I drilled a well with a hand pump on January 6, 1999. I realized fully that water was the problem. Having survived Hurricane Hugo without water should have taught me the lesson sooner. I guess I was in denial. You absolutely must have a renewable source of water. I am convinced you cannot store enough. I have posted here in the past and other places on the net with this same message. Many people mocked me for what I had to say. I would strongly urge you to do whatever you can to get a renewable source of water immediately. IF YOU JUST STORE WATER IT WILL RUN OUT. God bless you all.

-- H20isVITAL (, September 19, 1999.

Karen, and everyone who has posted here, thank you so much for this encouragement to prepare properly. I was able to copy and paste it into an e-mail for everyone on my list who needs to be preparing for Y2K. Your difficult experience is really a wake-up call to us all, and I think it will be helpful for us all to share with our DWGI and DGI friends. It is a real natural disaster they can wrap their minds around, and perhaps then translate it into "what if" for Y2K. May God bless ALL of you who suffered due to this hurricane, and may your rebuilding be facilitated and the load lightened by others. My prayers are with you.

-- Elaine Seavey (, September 19, 1999.

No need to go without showers Karen. Buy a cheapo but very effective plastic bag called a Sunshower. Holds 2 gallons or so, either put in the sun to warm up, or put half cold and half warm from a tea kettle. Wash your hair. These little showers are terrific. No moving parts. there is even a 1 quart backpacker version. Campmor, LL Bean, and other outdoor stores have them. Very important for both physical and mental health.

-- Charlie (, September 19, 1999.

Karen--I just want to say thank you for posting your experience because it will make a few people here stop and think about how fragile and vulnerable we are to disasters. Your emphasis on water storage is especially an eye opener I am sure for many. It is true that people will stop at nothing to take what does not belong to them because they think they have a right to it. Hunger and thirst will make people do things that they never thought they would be capable of doing. I wish you and your family the best, and your experience will serve as a reminder to all of us to be always be prepared.

-- bardou (, September 19, 1999.

Thank you to all of you. We have been on this forum for over a year, and appreciate every morsel of info - that has been put to good use already.

Charlie, thanks for the reminder about the shower. We can kind of grin about it now, but when we saw the water being used faster than anticipated, we decided to "tolerate" each other since we didn't have any idea when the electricity might be back on or when we might be able to find the correct 240 plug needed to run the water pump with the generator.

We do have one of the camping type showers that you mentioned, but decided to try the old pioneer "once a week bath" schedule just to be on the safe side.

Pungent, but prudent.

Prayers and thanks to all -- karen

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), September 19, 1999.

Oh yes, we did try the swimming pool idea, only to find out that all of the stores in this area stopped stocking them in July to usher in room for the fall hunting season. It is weird that we had a feeling that we didn't have enough water and needed one - well before we had verification of that fact. We couldn't find a single swimming or wading pool. Rats. karen

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), September 19, 1999.

Karen, Too bad you didn't use a real e-mail address! Hope you see this. Go to They sell the Doulton ceramic filters used in the Berkefeld for far less than you will pay for the Berk. Easy to set up your own siphon system for under $75. Remember that the filters DON't take care of viruses. You still need some bleach. I have been telling people that you simply can't store enough clean water unless you have a swimming pool.

-- RDH (, September 19, 1999.

Got it, RDH. Thanks! The Berkley is the water purification system that the Red Cross and other humanitarian groups use in third world country trips when contaminated water is the only source of water. Check out the specs. It is an impressive system. Gravity operated as well (no electricity needed). karen

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), September 19, 1999.

I am in rural eastern Virginia, and we received some of Floyd's rage. We had 18 inches of rain and many downed trees, but generally things were not too bad. Our power was out for 50 hours, with most people not loosing or only loosing for a few hours. I know of only one family who lost power for 3 days. Lessons I learned was have back up power and test all types of connecting. I did not have a generator, but my power was the first to go out in the area and I was able to borrower a friend's generator to help pump out our basement the first day. The next morning, I purchased a 4400 watt generator, but was unable to buy a 220v plug to run the water pump untill the second day, and even then, had to drive 80 miles to tract down someone who had it. Our well had surface water run into it and so we are still not able to drink it, I poured some bleach into the well and there is still too much bleach in the water now. We have had enough water to drink from our storage and had enough water from all the animals. (50 gal a day) Right now I am running water into several large tubs outside and letting it sit 48 hours to clear the bleach out before using it to water the animals. We need to spend a couple of thousand dollars to install a gravity drain for our basement, digging a trench 8 feet deep 400 feet long and installing drain pipe. It was the small things that I missed. The first chance I got, I bought some choclote sruyp to have something "nice" to drink. "We have a milk cow." The hardest thing was keeping things clean and santiary. I got very tired of having a difficult time washing my milking equipment and even keeping my hands clean. We had no indoor cooking, it all being done outside on a propane burner. The first day I was home alone and had no clock nor radio. I did not have batteries for the radio and some how, I had no working clock. There will always be some things that you forget to prep for and some of the small things will really bother you. There was not enough time in the day. Every minute was filled and we went to bed later than we normally do. There were problems with neigbor dogs because she had turned her dogs loose because it was so wet in their run. They spent their time over at our place causing problems with our animals, in fact, they did kill a few chickens, some by stress and one with teeth. Floyd was a very interesting "wet run for Y2K."

-- chicken farmer (chicken-farmer@, September 19, 1999.

Karen, we have Big Berkey water filter. You won't regret getting one. Even if Y2K does not bring disruptions in your local water supply, the quality of water in this country has been deteriorating for a long time and experts have been warning that this quality decline will continue. We just had a town near us have to go on a boil-water regimen, not because of weather, but because of an E.Coli contamination. I wouldn't be surprised if a good water filter becomes a must have in most households in the future.

-- Bonnie Camp (, September 20, 1999.

For those with regular rainfall, a reminder about rain barrels and solar water stills. See Preps Forum for more info. (I'm very happy with the two 75-gall rain barrels I got from

-- Old Git (, September 20, 1999.

Ya gotta run contingency drills. Ya gotta stress yer preps. Do it now. Ya need to think 'produce' not 'use'.

The thing about a flood is you have PLENTY of water. Just dirty and sickening. How to make this into good water? Chlorine, boiling, filtering, charcoal? ya gotta have a way to produce clean water. And if yer well becomes contaminated ya gotta be able to clean it out or treat the water that comes out of that tap. (and have a way to draw it out o' course)


Thanks for the heads up. You just saved a bunch of us some really bad experience. Thanks again.

-- ..- (dit@dot.dash), September 20, 1999.

Karen and crew, just watched the natl news...the flooding in NC and the resultant water contamination from pig/chicken farms. Ecoli, guiardia, crypto, etc. all rampant...even contaminating the water table below ground. Serious stuff...I would not trust well water in any surrounding area to be safe. This is the kind of thing I am most concerned about. Here Y2K is likely to bring a lot of petroleum-based contamination. Same result...contaminated water tables.

-- Shelia (, September 20, 1999.

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