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Safety Steps for Severe Weather in the East, Flooding Out West

Snow plow
If thunder roars, go indoors.

Severe weather is threatening the eastern half of the country today and the American Red Cross is keeping an eye on the storms and prepared to respond if necessary.

Snow, rain and sleet are expected from the Ohio Valley to New England where some areas could see more than a foot of new snow. Heavy rain and severe thunderstorms are threatening the Mid-Atlantic region where winds could gust to as much as 60 mph.

Residents in the affected areas should listen to their local media to be aware of any danger in their community. You can watch this severe weather slide show to learn what to do when bad weather strikes. Here are steps you should follow to stay safe during this latest round of storms:


  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be in danger from lightning.
  • Keep away from windows.
  • Avoid electrical equipment and telephones.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in or outside the vehicle.
  • If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers.
  • WINTER STORM SAFETY If you have to drive in snow, the Red Cross offers these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm or what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:

  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
  • ICE JAM FLOODING IN THE WEST Meanwhile, ice jams are flooding parts of Montana and Wyoming. The Red Cross has shelters open and is stocking relief supplies and assessing damages in the area. More flooding is expected as rivers thaw and the snow pack melts.

    FLOOD SAFETY Should flooding threaten your neighborhood, follow these safety steps:

  • Be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
  • If a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. Whether walking or driving, turn around and go another way. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood dangers.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • 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.