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Get Prepared for Severe Spring Weather

With flooding, tornadoes and lingering snow storms continuing to threaten the United States, the American Red Cross has steps you can take to deal with this early spring weather.

Storms are forecasted over the next few days throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Much of southern New England may see an additional 1 to 4 inches of rain. Rain and strong wind threatens to raise approximately 80 percent of the rivers and streams in southern New England. Flooding is expected to continue from New Jersey to southern Maine, potentially endangering dams in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Flood watches and warnings remain in effect.

The Red Cross has opened shelters in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut due to flooding. Forty two residents in Rhode Island woke up in Red Cross shelters this morning due to heavy rainfall and river flooding. Emergency response vehicles are providing food and water to residents of the affected areas.

If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of flooding. Follow these safety steps if heavy rains and flooding are likely: Know what flood warnings mean:

  • A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area. During a flood watch, move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank in case you have to evacuate.
  • A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. If a flood warning is issued, listen to local radio and television stations for information. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
  • A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area. Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate quickly.
  • A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon. Evacuate immediately. You may only have seconds to escape. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

Get the facts you need — before, during, and after a disaster or emergency situation. There is more important information on how to be prepared for flooding, tornadoes, and other emergencies in the Preparedness section of our Web site.