Subtropical Storm Alberto is headed toward Florida and the Gulf Coast, threatening to bring flash flooding, rip currents, strong wind, coastal flooding and possible tornadoes to the region. The American Red Cross has steps people can take to remain safe.
The storm is expected to hit the South from Louisiana to North Carolina. The heaviest rain will fall near the Gulf, with Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama seeing as much as 7 inches of rain over the next several days.
Alberto, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is forming just before the usual June 1 start of hurricane season. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there could be several major hurricanes this year. NOAA forecasters predict there could be as many as 16 named storms before hurricane season ends in November, that 5 to 9 of these storms could become hurricanes and as many as 4 could become major hurricanes.
- Know the difference. 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.
- 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.
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.
If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If they already have an emergency plan for their household, they should talk about it again with family members so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.
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.