The American Red Cross is lending a hand in Wisconsin and Minnesota where as much as five inches of rain Thursday led to widespread flooding, forcing people to leave their homes, and business and schools to close.
Both governors have declared emergencies for large portions of the states. Arcadia, Wisconsin was particularly hard hit with evacuations ordered for as many as 1,500 of the town’s 2,400 residents. Downtown Arcadia is under about three feet of water and many roads are closed. The Wisconsin National Guard is distributing sandbags to help people try and hold back the water.
Truman, Minnesota was another area swamped by the flash flooding and utilities there are shutting off services to many homes. Southwestern Minnesota Chapter Executive Director Joyce Jacobs said the water damaged homes and saturated fields and ditches. Half the roads in Truman are water-covered. "One of the first things we saw was a car, and the water was up to the doors," she said. "It came up so quickly, people didn't have time to move their cars."
Chapters in both states have opened shelters and are providing meals and comfort items such as toiletries to residents forced from their homes by the rising flood waters. More than 70 people took refuge in Red Cross shelters overnight. The Red Cross is working with local and state officials in both Wisconsin and Minnesota to ensure help is available for those who need it.
Meanwhile, flooding continues to be a problem in southern Texas where almost 100 people stayed in Red Cross shelters overnight. The Red Cross’ Coastal Bend-Texas Chapter is providing shelter and food to emergency workers and those who have had to leave their homes.
If your neighborhood has been affected by flooding, the Red Cross has some steps you should take to remain safe:
- Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
- Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
- Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
- Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
For more information on what to do if flooding threatens your community, visit www.redcross.org.To make a financial donation to the Red Cross to help people affected by these disasters here in the United States and around the world, people can click, call or text - visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.