Tropical Storm Eta is still bringing rain and wind to parts of Florida and the American Red Cross is helping people impacted by the storm.
Eta is predicted to move across northeastern Florida today and blow out into the western Atlantic this afternoon. So far damage from the storm is minimal throughout Florida. More than 70 people spent Wednesday night in community shelters supported by the Red Cross, and it is expected most of them will be able to return home today. More than 11,000 customers are without power and some roads and bridges are closed.
The Red Cross has more than 150 disaster workers supporting people in Florida, either on the ground or virtually. The Red Cross and is helping with damage assessment in the Keys and southern Florida. Red Cross disaster workers are also working with local and state authorities to determine what other help is needed.
It’s unusual to have several named storms form this late in hurricane season, but in this unusual year Tropical Storm Theta has formed in the Atlantic as the 29th named storm and another tropical system now has a good chance of becoming Iota, the 30th named storm, making 2020 the most active hurricane season.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Please donate to help now by visiting redcross.org, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting 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. To help people impacted by the recent storms, visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word HURRICANES to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CENTRAL AMERICA RESPONSE
Eta brought heavy rains, floods, and landslides to Central America which have affected more than 2.5 million people from Panama to Belize. In Nicaragua, 500,000 people have been affected and 33,000 people do not have access to drinking water. In Honduras, 1.7 million people have been directly affected and have evacuated to some 170 shelters. Access to clean water and sanitation and hygiene measures is an immediate need. Eta has also heavily affected indigenous, Afro and Miskito communities.
Red Cross teams in the region helped people evacuate, carried out search-and rescue of people caught in the storm, and are supporting emergency shelters. The Red Cross pre-positioned aid and fuel to help people after landfall. Families are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and a devastating disaster season, so the Red Cross is also helping with psychosocial / emotional support
“This devastating hurricane season continues to displace families and upend lives,” said Jenelle Eli, international spokesperson for the American Red Cross. “Hurricane Eta brought heavy rains, floods, and landslides that have affected more than 2.5 million people in all Central American countries, from Panama to Belize. Red Cross teams are carrying out search-and-rescue and helping families who had to flee their homes.”
FLOODING SAFETY If your community has been affected by floodwaters, follow these safety steps:
- Don’t return home until officials say it is safe to do so.
- Turn around, don’t drown! Stay off the roads. If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising 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.
- Head for higher ground and stay there.
- Tune into your local radio, NOAA radio or news channels for the latest updates. If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If power lines are down, don’t step in puddles or standing water.
- If power is out, use a flashlight. Don’t use candles or any open flame for lighting. Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment. Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.
- If you are using a generator, keep it dry and don’t use it in wet conditions. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Keep these devices outside away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet