Red Cross Helps After Tornadoes; Prepares for Midwest Storms

Texas Tornadoes

Red Cross' Anita Foster public affairs, discusses the damage assessment survey with Ray Fishencord (left) and Alan Sloan (right) Nearly 100 homes were impacted in this neighborhood. Photo Credit: Dan Halyburton/American Red Cross

People should get ready for possible tornadoes throughout the Midwest through Monday.

The American Red Cross is assisting people in Texas after this week’s deadly tornadoes and watching the weather across the Great Plains where weather experts report there is a good chance of more tornadoes and severe weather through Monday.

Red Cross disaster workers in Texas have shelters open and are distributing food, drinks and relief items throughout the affected parts of Texas. Teams are out assessing damages and distributing relief items including shovels, rakes, work gloves, trash bags and more in people’s neighborhoods.

AFTER THE TORNADO The Red Cross has steps people affected by the tornadoes in Texas should follow to stay safe. First, they should return home only when local authorities say it is safe to do so and listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Other safety steps include:

  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your home for damage.
  • Use 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.
  • MORE TORNADOES POSSIBLE The country could see more severe storms over the weekend into Monday. The National Weather Service reports tornadoes and severe storms could occur from the Illinois-Iowa-Wisconsin border down to the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

    TORNADO SAFETY The Red Cross urges everyone to get prepared now in case severe weather and tornadoes threaten their community. They should watch for tornado danger signs such as dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, a cloud of debris, large hail, funnel cloud or a loud, roaring noise.

    SAFETY STEPS People should pick a safe room in their household where loved ones and pets can gather, such as a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Mobile homes are not safe during tornados. If someone is in a mobile home, they should get to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately - do not wait until the tornado is visible. If someone is caught outdoors, they should seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.

    DOWNLOAD TORNADO APP Everyone should also download the free Red Cross Tornado App, available in English or Spanish. The app, found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, includes important features like a high-pitched siren and tornado warning alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued. This feature allows users to make critical decisions and to take actions to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe even in the middle of the night. An all-alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled.

    The app also features:

  • Location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts
  • Enhanced weather maps and information provided by Weather Underground, a digital brand of The Weather Company
  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters
  • Tags: Tornado.
    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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.