The American Red Cross is responding across the south after severe storms and tornadoes pounded the area Monday.
MISSISSIPPI Severe storms caused flooding and tornadoes that damaged homes in several parts of the state early this week. Red Cross workers opened a shelter, provided food, water and relief supplies to people affected by the severe weather.
In the most heavily impacted areas, Red Cross emergency response vehicles are delivering meals and relief supplies to families and individuals. The Red Cross is also partnering with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s emergency operations center which opened in Jackson on Tuesday.
"Red Cross is working closely with the emergency managers, local authorities and partner agencies in the affected communities,” said Sandra Hodge, CEO, American Red Cross Mississippi Region. "Our Red Cross teams are ‘on the ground’ helping Mississippians impacted by the devastating tornado, flooding and other recent weather events."
ALABAMA Heavy rains caused flooding across several counties, forcing people to evacuate from their homes. The Red Cross opened two shelters, provided food, water and relief supplies. Workers also dispatched an emergency response vehicle to the area to provide mobile feeding.
NORTH CAROLINA A tornado touched down in Beaufort County, damaging several homes. The Red Cross deployed a disaster team to the area to help people with their recovery needs after the storm.
Strong storms are possible in the area again today and the Red Cross is coordinating with local and state officials to respond as needed. If severe weather is possible in your area, here are steps you should take to help stay safe:
TORNADOES Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about any tornado watches and warnings in your area. You can also download the Red Cross Tornado App which features a high-pitched siren and tornado warning alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued. Other tornado safety steps include:
1. Know your community’s warning system.
2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
4. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Follow these steps to stay safe:
1. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
2. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
3. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
4. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
FLOODING If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, you should download the Red Cross Flood App to have step-by-step safety instructions on hand even if cell towers and TVs are down. Other safety steps include:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
2. Stay away from floodwaters. 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.
3. Keep children out of the water.
4. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.