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Tropical Storm Bryan: NEMA on Electrical Safety During Flooding

Posted in: Safety Corner

NEMA is requesting your help to educate your employees, friends, family, and contacts along the Texas coast about the importance of electrical safety in the event of flooding. As Tropical Storm Bryan moves toward the U.S., weather forecasters are warning of flooding along the Texas coast. Tropical Storm Bryan will likely be a Category 1 Hurricane by the time it makes landfall early Saturday AM. It then appears the storm is going to meander around the Texas shore for several days bringing high winds, torrential rains, and significant flooding. Heavy rainfall is likely to spread across portions of eastern Texas, Louisiana, and the lower Mississippi Valley from Friday through early next week.

When contractors are called to help with the damage assessment, it is important they understand what electrical products can or cannot be used after being submerged in contaminated flood waters.

Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment is available for download at no charge at www.nema.org/stds/water-damaged.cfm. Please help us distribute this resource by sending to your Texas contacts.

The guidance document provides advice on the safe handling of electrical equipment that has been exposed to water and outlines items that require complete replacement or that can be reconditioned by a trained professional. Equipment covered includes electrical distribution equipment, motor circuits, power equipment, transformers, wire, cable and flexible cords, wiring devices, GFCIs and surge protectors, lighting fixtures and ballasts, motors, and electronic products. 

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide:

  • 5 to 7 feet from Port Mansfield to San Luis Pass                  
  • 2 to 4 feet from San Luis Pass to High Island
  • 2 to 4 feet from Mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Mansfield           

NEMA Field Representative Bryan Holland is now contacting Texas officials, local contractors, and building officials to offer this guidance during the clean-up to help ensure that electrical safety remains top priority during the initial assessment and cleanup of flooded communities.