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Winter Storm Hammering New England

Storm Surge
Snow, wind, high surf and flooding possible from New Jersey to Maine.

The strong winter storm which has plagued a large part of the country isn’t finished yet, bringing heavy snow, strong winds, high waves and flooding to parts of New England through Saturday. The American Red Cross opened shelters in some areas and urged everyone to follow officials’ orders and stay safe during the storm.

Thousands of people are still without power, although officials say most electricity should be restored over the weekend. If someone’s is without power, there are steps they can take to keep their food safe, including:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Use perishable food in the refrigerator first. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
  • Use food from the freezer next. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • There is more information available about what to do during a power outage in the preparedness section of the Red Cross website.

    PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The storm has forced the cancellation of more than 70 blood drives in 14 states and the District of Columbia for a total of more than 2,800 uncollected blood and platelet donations. The Red Cross encourages those who live in areas unaffected by the storm to schedule a time to give blood or platelets. To schedule an appointment to give blood, people can call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit

    To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds with parental consent.

    FLASH FLOODS Officials are urging residents along the coast to take precautions in the event of flooding due to storm surge, high waves and higher tides than usual. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. People should be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see where flooding is occurring. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water

    TRAVEL ADVISORIES Some parts of New England could receive almost a foot of snow. People should avoid driving during the storm until road conditions improve. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. Your kit should include a flashlight and batteries, a first aid kit, cleaner for your windshield, reflective triangles and bright cloth, an ice scraper and snow brush and non-perishable food. Other steps include:

  • Plan to arrive at your destination before the storm hits. Watch weather predictions for your entire route so you know what to expect along the way.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. If you do get stuck in the snow:
  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
  • More information on what steps you can take to stay safe during storms and other emergencies is available on this website.

    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.