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Red Cross Helping Southern California Cope With Floods, Mudslides


American Red Cross workers in Southern California are on the ground, offering shelter, meals and a shoulder to lean on to people whose homes are affected by the flooding in that part of the Golden State.

Several major highways are closed due to flooding and mudslides. A storm later today is predicted to bring more heavy rains and the potential for serious flooding over the next several days. By Wednesday, the area may see five to seven inches of rain with more than ten inches in the foothills and mountains. In Los Angeles, the city has received a fourth of the rainfall over a few days that it typically sees in a year.

Red Cross chapters have opened shelters, deployed Disaster Action Teams, and are providing services such as shelter, meals, distribution of personal toiletries and clean-up items, and comfort to anyone who needs it.

The Red Cross has steps you should follow if your neighborhood is threatened by the flooding and mudslides. If flooding is a danger:

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.

If mudslides threaten your neighborhood:

If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.

Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.

If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.

Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.

If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.

For more information on how to stay safe during threatening weather, visit www.redcross.org.