Much of the eastern half of the country is under a flood watch or warning as a huge storm travels through the mid-Atlantic and New England states today, bringing heavy rains to areas where the ground is already saturated.
This same storm has already caused severe storms and tornadoes in the South, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Red Cross is working to provide food and shelter as needed in the affected areas.
In Biloxi, Miss., Howard Stewart and his fiancé, Esmeralda Layton, were dealt a devastating blow when their mobile home was destroyed by severe weather that ripped through southern Mississippi.
“This is a bigger mountain than we are ready to climb,” said Stewart. “But we are lucky to be alive.”
Both thank the Red Cross for the quick response to their needs. “The Red Cross has made sure we have what we need for the next few days, a place to stay, food, clothing and shoes. It’s a big help, we have nothing,” said Stewart.
Flood Safety With so much rain on the way, it’s important to know how to prepare. Flooding can occur when heavy or steady rain has occurred for several hours or days, saturating the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
Know what the warnings mean. A flood/flash flood watch means flooding is possible in your area. A flood/flash flood warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather 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. 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. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
More information on what you should do if flooding threatens your home is available on the preparedness section of redcross.org.
March has been proclaimed Red Cross Month by President Barack Obama. During March, people can join the Red Cross in its lifesaving mission by becoming a Red Cross volunteer, giving blood, making a donation, or taking a class. More information is available through the almost 650 Red Cross chapters serving more than 2,000 locations across the country, or by visiting www.redcross.org.