The American Red Cross is on the ground from the Carolinas to New England, lending a hand to those affected by the heavy rains and flooding which inundated the region yesterday.
The downpours left some areas with more rain falling in a few hours than fell all summer. Basements flooded, streets and highways were closed, some schools closed and sporadic power outages were reported. The storm is moving northward out of the Mid-Atlantic region toward New England. Forecasters said the storm is expected to be pushed offshore in New England, sparing people there the extreme rainfall that caused flooding in states to the south.
Officials in some areas are watching rivers and streams closely as they crest later today into Saturday. Many flash flood watches and warnings remain in effect from North Carolina to New England. In Pennsylvania, Governor Ed Rendell has the state’s National Guard on alert for potential evacuations in central and northeastern portions of the state. North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley declared emergencies throughout their states.
From South Carolina to New York, Red Cross chapters deployed disaster teams, opened shelters, supported community-run shelters, and collaborated with local and state officials to assist affected residents as needed. The chapters are continuing to monitor the situation, especially where additional rainfall is expected.
The Red Cross has steps people should take to remain safe if their neighborhood is affected by flooding:
- 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 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.
- 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. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
For more information on what to do to remain safe if flooding threatens your neighborhood, visit www.redcross.org.