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Hurricane Harvey Strengthening: Louisiana Red Cross Urges Gulf Coast Residents to Make Emergency Preparations Now

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The American Red Cross is preparing a large response effort as Hurricane Harvey bears down on Texas and Louisiana and urges everyone in the path of the storm to get ready now. The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Harvey could become a Category 3 hurricane by the time the storm makes landfall along the Gulf Coast Friday night – making it the first hurricane to strike Texas in almost nine years.

Some areas could see as many as 30 inches of rain and sustained winds as strong as 86 mph. Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings are already up in Texas, and several counties have issued voluntary evacuation orders for low lying areas.

“As this hurricane strengthens, so does the threat to people in its path. This has the potential to become a very dangerous storm, and the region could see life-threatening flooding as it moves through,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “People should take this storm seriously, make their emergency preparations now, and obey any evacuation orders for their area.”

The Red Cross is mobilizing trained Red Cross disaster relief workers to support this response effort, and has more than 17 shelters ready to open and support thousands of people if needed. Trailers full of shelter and relief supplies have been pre-positioned including cots, blankets, comfort and cleaning supplies. More than 30 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are activated with about 20 more on alert. The Red Cross is also working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners in both Texas and Louisiana to coordinate potential response efforts.

GET READY NOW Take these three steps: (1) build a disaster kit; (2) come up with an emergency plan; and (3) be informed about how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels. Full details are available here.

You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have real time information about the storm, shelter locations and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

HURRICANE SAFETY STEPS

1. Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning.

2. A Hurricane Watch means conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.

3. A Hurricane Warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

4. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings: Take these alerts seriously. They often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds.

5. Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates and obey any evacuation orders from local officials.

6. Be prepared to evacuate quickly. You can find shelters by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.

7. Fill your car's gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.

8. Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.

9. Create an evacuation plan for your household. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. If you already have a disaster kit, replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies.

10. Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Additional pet safety tips are available.

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross works 24/7 to be ready to respond to disasters such as hurricanes. Even before the first raindrop falls in Texas and Louisiana, the Red Cross is spending money to get ready. Please donate to the Red Cross to help. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

ADGP $1 million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.

ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sunoco; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; and Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.