Going into Labor Day weekend, the American Red Cross continues to help communities that were impacted by Hurricane Irene, and is carefully monitoring a tropical depression that could bring torrential rain to parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Irene Response Continues Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene made landfall, the Red Cross has provided more than 55,000 overnight shelter stays to people impacted by the storm. In communities stretching from North Carolina to Maine, the Red Cross is providing food, shelter, cleanup supplies and emotional support to those whose homes were affected by the hurricane.
In many ways, the cleanup can seem more daunting than the storm itself, as it stretches on for days and weeks.
Julie Gray came to the roadside in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., late Tuesday afternoon to accept free meals from a Red Cross mobile feeding vehicle. Volunteer Eilene Guy explained how the Red Cross helps victims of disaster, and volunteer Carrie Smith helped carry several hot meals of chicken, creamed potatoes and applesauce to Gray’s home.
Tears of fatigue and emotion brimmed in Gray’s eyes, even as she tried to maintain a brave face in the wake of Hurricane Irene’s destruction. A lifelong resident of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she is finding the cleanup daunting.
When the Red Cross vehicle stopped at Gray’s waterfront home to deliver hot meals after a strenuous day of cleanup, she told volunteer Carrie Smith, “You can’t imagine what this means.”
Preparing on the Gulf of Mexico What is now Tropical Depression 13 threatens to bring heavy rain and flooding to several states along the Gulf over the next several days. The Red Cross is carefully monitoring the storm’s movement, and urges anyone who could be impacted to prepare for potential floods.
First, make sure you have a disaster supply kit ready, including food (at least a three-day, non-perishable supply) and water (a least a three-day supply; one gallon per person per day).
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 NationalWeather 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.
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.
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
More preparedness information can be found on www.redcross.org.