The winter storm that buried the Midwest under more than a foot of snow is now headed toward the Northeast to unleash its fury in that region. The American Red Cross is responding across the Central Plains and working with officials in the Northeast to plan a response there where as much as a foot of snow could fall.
The heavy snow brought trees and roofs down and closed roads across several states in the middle of the country. About 32,000 homes are still without power in the Midwest due to the storm. The Red Cross opened shelters in Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma for those affected by the storm.
BLOOD DONORS NEEDED Meanwhile, February’s severe winter weather has forced the cancellation of more than 140 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in almost 12,000 blood and platelet donations uncollected so far.
The Red Cross urges those living in areas unaffected by the storms and eligible to give blood to schedule a donation now. All blood types are needed, but there is a particular need for donors with types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood. And, since platelets have a shelf-life of just five days, the Red Cross encourages platelet donors to schedule their next appointment in the days and weeks ahead.
To schedule a donation, or for more information about giving blood, people can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
AS THE STORM NEARS THE NORTHEAST, people who may be in the path of the storm should prepare now. These are steps they can take to get ready:
PEOPLE IN THE MIDWEST should go to a designated public shelter if they have no power or heat as they recover from the storm. Other safety steps include:
More information on what steps you can take to stay safe during storms and other emergencies is available on this website.