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Severe Weather Slams East Coast

Severe weather is impacting the eastern half of the country and the American Red Cross Chapters across the area are ready to respond if needed.

Tornadoes struck in ten counties in Mississippi, injuring 32 people, destroying and severely damaging homes and businesses, and leaving many without power. In Georgia, high winds damaged an unknown number of homes. Red Cross Disaster Teams are working with state and local officials to assess the extent of damage.

The entire East Coast will see heavy rain today, with flooding possible from the Mid-Atlantic region into New England. Severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and tornadoes are also possible, while parts of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia could see snow.

The strong system moves in during what weather experts call the secondary severe weather season throughout parts of the country. For instance, in Alabama, all six of the F3 or stronger tornadoes over the last ten years occurred in November and December, as well as 93 percent of all tornado related deaths and injuries. An F3 tornado brings winds up to over 200 mph and severe damage including lifting heavy cars off the ground, uprooting trees and severely damaging homes.

If these tornadoes have affected your neighborhood, the Red Cross has steps you should follow to remain safe:

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  • Return home only when officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long-­sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery-­powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.

More information on what to do if a tornado threatens your community is available on the preparedness section of