Heavy rains have swamped parts of southern Texas, leading to flash flooding and water rescues. The American Red Cross is there, helping provide a safe place to stay for people forced from their homes by floodwaters.
Some parts of Texas have received as much as a foot of rain. Roads are flooded, some summer schools closed and the rising waters have led to numerous people having to be rescued. Some of the areas affected are still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Harvey. More than 215 people spent Wednesday night in three Red Cross shelters and more shelters are on stand-by if needed.
It’s been almost a year since Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and the Red Cross is still helping those affected, working with local and state governments, non-profit partners, faith-based organizations, and community-based Long-Term Recovery committees to meet the ongoing needs of people impacted by this devastating storm. You can learn more here.
If you live in a neighborhood which could be impacted by the flooding, you should know what the watches and warnings mean. A flood/flash flood watch means a flood/flash flood is possible in your area. A flood/flash flood warning means flooding/flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Evacuate if directed.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding, as well as locations of open Red Cross shelters. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999 for a link to download the app or going to redcross.org/apps.
Here are more safety steps you should follow:
Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates. People should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials.
Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby.
Turn around, don’t drown. If 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.
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
Keep children and pets out of the water.
Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
After a flood, do not attempt to return to affected areas until officials say it is safe to do so.
Once you are able to go home, look for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, cracks in the foundation or other damage before you enter your home.
During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
THREE EASY STEPS
There are 3 easy steps people can take to be “Red Cross Ready” for an emergency:
1. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at redcrossstore.org.
2. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
3. Be informed. Learn about the community’s emergency response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.