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Red Cross Helps as Winter Freeze Spreads Across the South

Baby in a Red Cross Blanket

This tiny tot is safe and warm in a Red Cross shelter in Crossville, Tennessee.

Do not use a generator indoors.

Brutal winter weather continues to slam the South and the American Red Cross is helping people impacted by the storms. Almost 200,000 homes across several states are without power and more than 245 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross and community shelters in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia due to the weather.


Hardest hit is Tennessee where more than 135 people took refuge from the cold in shelters last night.

  • More than 240 Red Cross workers are helping those affected in Tennessee.
  • Many of those seeking shelter have medical needs and Red Cross volunteer nurses are assisting them.
  • Red Cross emergency vehicles are providing meals and personal comfort items, traveling throughout the very rural area where some residents live about 100 miles from their nearest Red Cross office.
  • Since the storms began, the Red Cross has served more than 7,400 meals and snacks and distributed 400 comfort kits.
  • Because of the geography, Red Cross damage assessment teams are going out and a remote call center will be available to help those affected.
  • NOT OVER YET Snow and ice will continue today from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic coast and snow and freezing rain are predicted tomorrow for the Southern Plains and Texas. More power outages are expected throughout the region.


  • Wear layers of clothing to stay warm, along with a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots. This video offers more information on how to dress for the cold.
  • If the power is out, do not use a generator indoors, even in a garage, carport, basement or crawlspace. More steps to take while the power is out are available here.
  • Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Visit here for more information.
  • Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
  • Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water. We have additional information available here.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Avoid driving on snow-covered roads if possible. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. If your car breaks down, do not try to walk to safety. Tie a bright cloth to the antenna. Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour, making sure the exhaust pipe is clear. Keep one window away from the wind slightly open.
  • Download the American Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available in your app store. See all Red Cross apps at

    You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.