Spring is a busy disaster season for the American Red Cross with a range of emergencies threatening different parts of the country. This past weekend, the Red Cross responded to a grass fire in Texas and damaging storms across the plains, while continuing to help communities affected by the severe weather in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi.
Sunday night, nearly 300 people spent the night in Red Cross supported shelters.
TEXAS GRASS FIRE Fires are blazing through parts of the Texas panhandle, burning hundreds of acres, forcing residents to evacuate, and destroying homes.
With hundreds of home still threatened, the Red Cross is on the ground supporting evacuation centers and providing shelter for affected residents. Approximately 170 people found a safe haven in shelters Sunday night. Working with local emergency management, the Red Cross is also providing food and supplies to help those affected.
In addition, trained Red Cross workers are also supporting first responders with water and snacks who are battling the fire.
SEVERE STORMS STRIKE On Sunday, there were reports of tornado activity and flash flooding across the Plains with some of the worst damage was in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. These powerful storms downed power lines and damaged homes and businesses.
In response, the Red Cross opened shelters and provided assistance to residents in need. Red Cross workers are also completing disaster assessments in affected areas.
CLEAN UP CONTINUES Meanwhile, parts of the Midwest and Southeast continue to recover from the tornado outbreak and severe weather that occurred in the last days of April. The clean up process is an overwhelming task, and sometimes it can be difficult to know just where to begin.
In Peal, Mississippi, after a tornado swept through areas, there were hundreds of trees blown over or broken, scattering debris throughout the yards, leaving power lines down and a community in disarray.
Here, Todd Jenkins, an alderman on the Pearl City Council, is heading-up the clean-up response. Equipped with helping hands from area churches, friends and neighbors, Jenkins exclaimed, “Many hands make light work.”
For Jenkins, the volunteers were evidence of a community coming together with its own resources and with assistance from groups like the Red Cross.
“We can sit around and have a pity party, but until we get up and work together, it won’t get done,” he said. “These people are working together because they know that is the only way we’re going to get this clean-up completed.”
NEW STORMS THREATEN Severe storms with high wind gusts, large hail and possible tornadoes are again forecast for parts of the Midwest and South. In addition, snow storms are likely in portions of the West while triple-digit temperatures are expected in other parts.
The Red Cross encourages you to prepare for severe weather and emergencies. One preparedness step you can take right now is to download our Red Cross mobile apps including the Tornado App, Wildfire App and Flood App.
The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps