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Richmond, flooded and soaked from Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

RAPPAHANNOCK, Va. — The Rappahannock Area Health District recommended people avoid flood water if at all possible this weekend.

Flood waters may contain raw sewage, chemicals or toxins which may be harmful if exposed to bare skin or ingested. While unopened canned goods should be all right for consumption after sanitizing the can, food items exposed to flood water, even in screw-caps or snap lids, should be thrown away, the Rappahannock Area Health District said.

Electric shock is a worry with this heavy rainfall as power lines and or streetlights could be submerged in the pooling water. Snakes or floating insects pose another threat.

Heavy rain fall could seep into homes as well. Damp materials need to be removed immediately to decrease the growth of mold. If mold has already began growing, then, using some sort of protective gloves or mask, clean up the moldy area. However, residents with mold allergies should stay away from the mold, the Rappahannock Area Health District said.

Residents who get their drinking water from wells should also be cautious this weekend. A submerged well could be contaminated. If this is the case, the health district said to avoid that water, or boil it for at least one minute before use and then have two bacteriological tests performed at least 24 hours apart on the well water.

Flooding may also cause sewage backups for people who have on-site sewage systems. Be sure to inspect plumbing at the lower elevations for backups. These surfaces and hands need to be properly sanitized after coming in contact with these backups, the health district said.