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Preparedness Urged for Areas in Path of Midwest Tornadoes

The National Weather Service is predicting that strong tornadoes could hit parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee today and the American Red Cross urges people who live in these areas to be prepared to respond if the storms materialize in their neighborhoods. Severe weather could affect anyone living in the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys as well as regions of the Appalachian Mountains.

There is potential for the weather to impact some of the areas where recovery efforts are still underway from the deadly tornadoes which hit earlier this week. Red Cross workers continue to provide shelter, food and emotional support to people affected by Wednesday’s storms.

The Red Cross has safety steps people can follow to protect members of their household if their community is in the path of a tornado. “Pick a safe place in your home or apartment building where household members and pets can gather during a tornado,” said Rick Bissell, PhD, MS, MA, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and chair of the Preparedness Sub-Council. “Use a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.”

Other steps people should take include:

  • Watch for tornado warning signs such as dark, greenish clouds, large hail, a roaring noise, a cloud of debris or funnel clouds. Secure outside items such as lawn furniture or trash cans, which could be picked up by the wind and injure someone.
  • If a tornado watch is issued, it means tornadoes are possible and people should be ready to act quickly. If a tornado warning is issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar and people should go underground immediately to a basement or storm cellar or to an interior room such as a bathroom or closet.
  • If a tornado warning is issued and someone is outside, they should hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. If they cannot get to a building, they should get in a vehicle, buckle in, and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If flying debris occurs, a person can pull over and stay in the car with the seat belt on, their head below the window, and cover their head with a blanket or their hands. If someone does not have a vehicle, they should find ground lower than the surface of the roadway, and cover their head with their hands.
  • If someone is in a high-rise building, they should pick a place in the hallway in the center of the building.

Visit the preparedness section of the Red Cross web site for more tornado safety information.

HOW TO FIND A RED CROSS SHELTER If someone needs to find an open Red Cross shelter, they can visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). iPhone users can download a free Red Cross shelter view app from the app store.

RED CROSS CONTINUES TO ASSIST THOSE AFFECTED BY EARLIER STORMS The Red Cross is prepared to respond to today’s storms if needed. Meanwhile, Red Cross workers continue to offer people a safe place to stay, meals and support as clean-up and recovery efforts continue in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri from Wednesday’s storms. In addition to providing health and mental health services, Red Cross damage assessment teams continue to go through affected neighborhoods to determine the extent of damage.

HOW YOU CAN HELP People can help those affected by disasters like the Midwest tornadoes and storms, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.