By Drew Schwartz, vice.com
As if people didn’t already have enough to worry about.
Hurricane Florence is pummeling the Carolinas after making landfall Friday morning, battering the coast with up to 85 mile-an-hour winds and threatening floods at two nuclear power plants. As if ten feet of water, flying debris, and devastating power outages weren’t bad enough, it looks like people in the hurricane’s path might also have an epidemic of deadly, venomous snakes to worry about.
Local reptile handlers are warning that the storm is threatening to flush out all kinds of killer serpents from their habitats on the coast, and send them slithering into local neighborhoods, the Sun News reports. There are more than 60 venomous snakes native to North and South Carolina, but Thad Bowman, a reptile expert at a Myrtle Beach zoo, told the paper cottonmouths and copperheads were particularly likely to wind up in the floodwaters brought on by the storm.
“They inject venom, which causes tissue destruction, platelet loss, causes bleeding,” Gerald O’Malley, director of toxicology at Myrtle Beach’s Grand Street Hospital, told the Sun News. “It can cause death.”
With rain dumping on North Carolina at a rate of about three inches an hour, and some storm surges climbing well above the average height of a human being, folks caught in the storm could find themselves swimming with seriously deadly snakes. For a look at exactly how terrifying that is, just swap out the fish in this insane Weather Channel graphic with, say, water moccasins.
To avoid a potentially fatal bite, public safety officials are urging people to stay inside until the storm subsides, unless the’ve been asked to evacuate. As if people didn’t already have enough reason to say indoors during the storm.