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Tornadoes, Flooding and Wildfires Affect Most of U.S.

The American Red Cross has an eye on wildfire threats in various areas of the country. In addition, help is needed in the Midwest where people were affected by last weekend’s tornadoes and in Texas, where floodwaters might swell.

In the Midwest, the Red Cross continues to operate shelters, serve meals and distribute relief supplies. Residents can come to the shelters to stay overnight, eat a hot meal, take a shower or simply receive emotional support as they plan their next steps.

In Thurman, Iowa, Red Cross volunteers are providing food, water and minor first aid to local residents and the hundreds of volunteers helping with the clean-up and recovery efforts. Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are providing meals throughout the affected neighborhoods and casework volunteers are interviewing residents to help determine their immediate needs.

TEXAS FLOODS In Texas, the Red Cross is responding in several counties after heavy rains caused flooding that damaged hundreds of homes, caused power outages and forced people to leave their neighborhoods. The Red Cross opened a shelter and is providing meals and distributing relief supplies. More rain is expected in the area today which could cause additional flooding across the Central Gulf Coast. Steps people can take to remain safe if flooding threatens their community are available.

Preparedness Fast Facts Emergency-Specific Preparedness Information

WILDFIRE WARNINGS There is a danger of wildfires in some areas of the country where exceptionally dry weather makes conditions ripe for new fires. Critical Fire Weather areas are forecast for portions of southern New England. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

About 165 new fires have been reported, including uncontained fires in Virginia and Florida. In Tennessee, a large fire at a mulch facility prompted the evacuation of nearby residents. The Red Cross opened a shelter and provided canteen services for emergency responders.

Being prepared can be your best offense when it comes to wildfires. You should plan two ways out of your neighborhood in case one is blocked. Set up a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you can’t get home or need to evacuate. Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the area. Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home and in everyone’s cell phone.

Other steps you can take include:

  • Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
  • Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool.
  • Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel. You may need to fight small fires before emergency responders arrive.
  • Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
  • Clean roofs and gutters regularly.

The preparedness section of the Red Cross website provides more information about what to do if a wildfire threatens your neighborhood.

HOW TO HELP People can help those affected by disasters like these tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.