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Flood Preparations Escalate As Tornado Response Continues

The American Red Cross is getting ready for severe flooding along the Mississippi River as relief efforts continue for those hit by April’s deadly tornadoes.

Across the South, more than 1,250 people spent Thursday night in a Red Cross shelter because of tornadoes and flooding. In addition, Red Cross emergency response vehicles continue to travel through neighborhoods to deliver hot meals and supplies such as cleanup kits, shovels and tarps.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is ramping up for what may be historic floods along the Mississippi River, and is sending additional personnel and supplies into the region. Thousands of people along the river are expected to be impacted by these floods. Forecasters warn that flood waters could remain in areas for as long as two weeks, forcing thousands of people to stay in shelters for more than a month. Consequently, the Red Cross is readying itself for a long-term and widespread relief operation.

Prepare for Floods There are a number of steps that people can take to make a plan and stay informed before floodwaters threaten.

Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAAWeather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

Stay away from floodwaters. People walking can be swept off their feet by just six inches of swiftly moving water. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.

Drivers who come upon a flooded road while driving should turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

Supplies You Should Have

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAAWeather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen

You can find more preparedness information at