The American Red Cross is responding out west where a strong storm is causing flooding and major landslides in California and the Pacific Northwest.
The storm, brought on by a “bomb cyclone” over the Pacific Ocean, is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to the region, leading to flooding, landslides and power outages. The fast-moving landslides are causing debris flows in areas where wildfires have left massive burn scars, forcing people to leave their homes. Some areas have received more than a half foot of rain and more than 175,000 homes and businesses are without power in California and Washington.
Trained Red Cross disaster workers opened several shelters in California and are working with officials to determine what additional support is needed. Anyone who needs a safe place to go can find information for open Red Cross shelters on redcross.org, 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767) or the free Red Cross Emergency app. You can also check with local officials and monitor local news for information on where shelters are located.
DOWNLOAD the free Red Cross Emergency app for real-time weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and expert advice on landslides. The app includes an “I’m Safe” feature that helps people check on loved ones. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps.
FLOODING 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, quickly get out of the car, move to higher ground and stay there. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Tune into your local radio, NOAA radio or news channel for the latest updates. If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary.
- Follow evacuation orders and don’t return until officials say it is safe.
- Stay away from floodwaters. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around floodwaters and your home.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwaters.
- If power lines are down, don’t step in puddles or standing water.
LANDSLIDES If you suspect you are in danger, evacuate immediately and take your pets with you.
- Inform close neighbors and contact your local fire or police department.
- If a landslide watch or warning has been issued, consider sleeping somewhere else.
- Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris. This includes trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
- If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water fl ow. Notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream,
- Be especially alert when driving. Watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of a possible debris flow.
POWER OUTAGES For prolonged power outages, there are ways that you can minimize loss and keep everyone as comfortable as possible.
- Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
- Don’t drive unless necessary. Traffic lights will be out and roads could be congested.
- Turn off and unplug any appliances, equipment and electronics. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.