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Strong Storms Leave Millions In The Dark As Wildfires Continue To Burn In The West

The Red Cross has opened shelters across the affected area to offer people a safe place to stay

Hundreds of people all across the country spent Friday night in American Red Cross shelters after strong storms left millions without power, wildfires continued to burn in the west and people in Florida cleaned up after flooding from Tropical Storm Debby.

More than 425 people took refuge overnight in Red Cross shelters in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers are offering people a safe place to stay, meals and snacks, health and mental health assistance and distributing relief items to those affected.

A string of storms with winds up to 90 miles per hour slammed across multiple states late Friday, bringing with them hundreds of reports of severe weather. Weather officials said millions are without power in areas where record high temperatures are expected to continue through the weekend. Officials say some could be without power for several days. The Red Cross has opened shelters across the affected area to offer people a safe place to stay.

People without power should check on those who are alone or are more likely to be affected by the heat. Folks should also check on their animals frequently and make sure they have water and a shady place to rest.

KEEP FOOD SAFE The Red Cross has steps people can follow while the power is out. They should keep the refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible and use perishable food first. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed. More steps include:

  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and covered at all times.
  • More information about what people should do during a power outage is available on the Red Cross web site.

    WILDFIRES Almost 300 spent Friday night in Red Cross shelters in Colorado, Montana and Idaho. Hardest hit is Colorado, where the Red Cross has been helping people since early June, operating shelters, serving meals and snacks, providing health and mental health assistance and distributing relief items to those affected. Officials report the worst fire near Colorado Springs is now about 25 percent contained as hundreds of firefighters continue to fight the inferno.

    The Red Cross has provided 1,300 overnight stays, served more than 38,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 8,775 relief items, and made more than 4,775 health and mental health contacts over the last several weeks in Colorado.

    FLORIDA FLOODING CLEAN-UP Meanwhile, more than 70 people stayed in Red Cross shelters in Florida as clean-up efforts continue after the flooding from Debby. Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workings are distributing food and relief items as a fleet of 28 emergency vehicles travel through the affected communities.

    HOW TO FIND RED CROSS SHELTERS People can find Red Cross shelters by going to or accessing the free Red Cross phone app. Both are refreshed with updated information every 30 minutes. Residents can also monitor local media—radio, newspaper and television—to find out where local shelters are located.

    REGISTER ON SAFE AND WELL The Red Cross Safe and Well website is also available. People affected can access the site and let loved ones know where they are. There are several ways to register on Safe and Well, or search for a loved one. From a computer, visit; from a smart phone, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to be connected with the local Red Cross chapter.

    SAFETY TIPS The Red Cross has safety steps to follow if your community is impacted by the power outages, wildfires and flooding. Many people are traveling to shore points for the upcoming 4th of July holiday where the storms are churning up the water. Information about what to do if caught in a rip current is also available on the Red Cross website.

    HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP If you would like to help, you can make a donation today to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    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.