American Red Cross workers were deployed and chapters placed on standby over the weekend, as severe weather made a path across the country.
In the Washington, D.C. - metro area which includes northern Virginia and Maryland, severe storms caused power outages for more than 300,000 residents.
A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least one inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 mph. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages. It’s important to know the difference between a thunderstorm watch and a warning.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch — Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning — Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
In Iowa, heavy rain conditions resulted in flooding and dam failure that affected residents in the counties of Jones, Buchanan and Delaware.
Over the weekend, Illinois experienced heavy rainfall which caused flash flooding that closed roads, affected homes, prompted evacuations and left thousands of residents without power in the northern part of the state.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturate the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Know the difference between a flood/flash flood watch and warning.
- Flood/Flash Flood Watch — Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
- Flood/Flash Flood Warning — Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Full details about the steps you can take to stay safe are available on the Red Cross web site