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Weather Alert: review these storm preparedness tips

Precautions You Can Take Against Lighting As A Homeowner

Warm weather usually means fun in the Carolina sun, but summer heat also can bring severe weather. Threatening thunderstorms often loom large on summer afternoons, so it’s important to be prepared for downpours and accompanying lightning. Consider the following suggestions when planning both outdoor and indoor events this summer to reduce the risk of a lightning strike.

  • Watch the weather. Pay attention to your local weather forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If there’s a chance of thunderstorms, consider rescheduling or moving the event indoors. If that’s not possible, have an emergency plan in place in case a severe storm rolls in, and designate a sufficient nearby structure as an emergency shelter.
  • Stay inside. If severe thunderstorms are imminent, go indoors and wait until they pass. Safe, enclosed shelters include homes, schools, offices, shopping malls and vehicles with hard tops and closed windows. Open structures and spaces do not provide adequate protection.
  • Duck and crouch. If you’re caught outside during a severe storm, it’s important to crouch low on the ground, tuck your head and cover your ears to help protect yourself from harm. Do not lie down; lightning strikes can produce extremely strong electrical currents that run along the top of the ground, and laying horizontally increases electrocution risk.
  • Turn off faucets. During a thunderstorm, lightning can sometimes be conducted through the plumbing. Avoid any type of contact with running water, including bathing, showering and washing your hands, dishes or clothes.
  • Turn off electronics. All electrical appliances—televisions, computers, laptops, gaming systems, stoves and more—that are plugged into an electrical outlet could carry a current from a lightning strike. Surge protectors will reduce the risk of damaging electronics.

Stay away from windows. Not only is lightning a threat, but high winds and hail create flying debris that could be harmful during a thunderstorm. Close all windows and doors and stay as far away from them as possible.

Tips for Keeping Water Clean

Keeping water clean begins with each of us—where we live, work and play, and with the simple daily actions we take. Here are a few ways you can make a difference to reduce pollution:


  • Plant trees, shrubs and groundcovers, especially around surface water. Vegetation acts as a natural filter for runoff entering ponds, lakes or streams. Plants can also prevent shoreline erosion and keep soil from washing away.
  • Clean up after your pets. Dispose of pet waste in the garbage.
  • Maintain a healthy lawn. A dense, healthy lawn can be an excellent filter for pollutants. Before you apply fertilizers, test your soil so you apply only what you need. Use the right fertilizer, at the right time and in the proper amount.
  • Practice integrated pest management (IPM) around your home and garden. IPM reduces pest problems through a variety of cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical methods. Try to eliminate chemical use or keep pesticide use to a minimum by using them only when other methods are not successful.
  • Maintain your vehicles in good condition to prevent leaks such as oil or antifreeze. Spilled motor oil, gasoline and lubricants can contaminate wells and streams.
  • Compost grass clippings, leaves and garden waste. When these materials are washed into streams and lakes, they decay, which in turn consumes oxygen fish and other aquatic animals need to survive.


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Outdoor Water Conservation Tips

Even though we use water every day, it’s easy to take it for granted. Just imagine how you would function without clean water. It’s everyone’s responsibility to conserve and protect water resources. The decisions and actions you make today truly affect our water resources in the southeast for the future. The following suggestions will help you get in the habit of saving water in the great outdoors:

Ÿ Use mulch around landscape plantings. Mulch will help eliminate weeds and hold moisture in the soil.

Ÿ Get a rain gauge to measure rainfall. One inch of rain per week is generally sufficient for lawns and gardens. Supplement only when rainfall is inadequate.

Ÿ Water during the cool part of the day to avoid rapid evaporation.

Ÿ Select hardy plants that don’t need much water. Native plants that are well adapted to your climate and soils will survive well without supplemental watering.

Ÿ When watering is necessary, water slowly and thoroughly. If you notice puddles or runoff, turn water off and wait for water to soak in. Also be sure your sprinkler puts water where you need it—not on driveways or sidewalks.

Ÿ Raise the mowing height on your lawn mower. This promotes healthier grass that can better survive dry periods.

Ÿ Wash cars efficiently. First give the car a quick rinse, and then turn the water off. Wash one section of the car at a time and rinse that section quickly. Turn the water off each time.


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Indoor Water Conservation Tips

As a homeowner, you can reduce your water consumption by 20-40 percent without purchasing expensive equipment. Reducing water use can mean substantial savings on water, sewage and energy bills. The following suggestions will help you get in the habit of saving water:


  • ŸRun automatic dishwashers only with a full load.
  • ŸAvoid the garbage disposal. It uses a lot of unnecessary water and can lead to problems with septic systems. Start a compost pile instead!
  • ŸKeep a container of water in the refrigerator for cold drinks. If you have to run your tap while waiting for cold water, collect running water in pitcher for later use.
  • ŸWhen washing dishes in the sink, use one side of the sink or a large bowl for rinsing rather than running water.


  • Conventional toilets use about five to seven gallons of water per flush. Placing two half-gallon plastic bottles filled with water in the tank can reduce water used for each flush.
  • ŸInstall a low-flow aerator on your shower-head and sink. These devices can be purchased at a hardware store and are easy to install. They reduce flow to approximately three gallons per minute instead of the usual five to 10 in a shower.
  • ŸTake shorter showers. During droughts, turn off water while soaping up.
  • ŸTurn off tap water while brushing your teeth or shaving.

Remember, when you use less water, you are also using less energy, leading to even greater savings. Residents can sometimes fall into a habit of overusing their water privileges, which results negatively on their water and electricity bill. Visit for more conservation tips.