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Flooding Out West: Red Cross Helps; Issues Safety Information

Winter Weather

Heavy rains on the West Coast are leading to flooding in California, and Nevada and the American Red Cross is there helping.

In northern California, the rains are forcing thousands of residents in Sonoma, Plumas and Lassen counties to evacuate due to rockslides and flooding. In the central part of the state, residents in North Fork are also being ordered to evacuate as water is released out of the Bass Lake Dam. Lake Tahoe residents are also being asked to evacuate. In Nevada, Douglas County residents have been ordered to leave. In all areas, Red Cross and community shelters are open.

The threat of flooding will continue through the next several days and the Red Cross is prepared to launch an additional response if needed.

FLOOD SAFETY

Everyone should know the difference between a flood watch and warning. A flood or flash flood watch means either is possible in your area. A warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon.

People should get their households ready now and build an emergency kit, which should include three days of supplies for everyone in the household. Contents for every kit should include water (one gallon per person per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home.

You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information and shelter locations at your fingertips. It also features emergency weather alerts to help keep the user safe, and provides information about what to do in case of various disasters and the locations of open shelters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

IF FLOODING OCCURS Listen to local radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). People should also:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, 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.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger
  • About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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