A series of strong winter storms on the West Coast may bring several feet of snow and more than a foot of rain to California, resulting in flooding and landslides in areas where last year’s wildfires destroyed millions of acres of vegetation. Several California counties have already issued mandatory evacuation orders for people to get out of their neighborhoods.
The American Red Cross, Northern California Coastal Region is responding. Evacuation orders affect as many as 13,000 residents of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Tuesday night more than 380 people were provided refuge in emergency lodging.
Red Cross teams are currently supporting six Temporary Evacuation Points (TEPs) where there are mandatory evacuations. Get more information on the Red Cross response here. Because the pandemic has made establishing traditional “congregate” shelters more difficult, the Red Cross is working with county and hotel partners to ensure that those under mandatory evacuation orders continue to have safe sheltering options.
Evacuees who are in need of shelter must check in at a TEP so the county can verify that they reside in a mandatory evacuation zone. Once that determination is made, the Red Cross will work to secure accommodations for these evacuees with one of our hotel partners. Providing hotel accommodations takes time, so evacuees should go to a TEP as early as possible to begin the process of requesting this kind of housing support.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO If an emergency threatens your neighborhood, prepare to evacuate quickly and leave the area if local officials tell you to do so. Don’t return home until officials say it is safe to do so.
- Have your disaster kit ready. Review your emergency plan with everyone in your household.
- Plan your evacuation route and alternates in case main roads are impassable.
- Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe with real-time alerts, shelter locations and safety advice on wildfires. The Red Cross First Aid app provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.
- If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
- Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
- If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
- 'Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
- Stay alert and awake. Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping.
- Listen to local news stations on a battery-powered radio for warnings of heavy rainfall.
- Be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so
- Turn around, don’t drown. Stay off the roads. If you must drive and encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way. Head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around floodwaters and your home.
- If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- Don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car.
- Don't walk on beaches or riverbanks.
- Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water.
- Stay out of areas subject to flooding. Underpasses, dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. can become filled with water.
CORPORATIONS, FOUNDATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; Latter-day Saint Charities; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Truist Foundation; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; Aon; Capital One; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; The Coca-Cola Foundation; Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative; Ford Motor Company; Fox Corporation; General Motors; Grainger; HCA Healthcare; IBM Corporation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; The Kroger Co. Foundation; LHC Group; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; PayPal; PepsiCo Foundation; Progressive Insurance; PwC Charitable Foundation; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Sands Cares; Southwest Airlines; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; The Starbucks Foundation; Takeda Pharmaceutical; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; The USAA Foundation, Inc.; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and The Wawa Foundation.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; American Express; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; The Ball Foundation; Barclays; CarMax; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Company; Consumer Cellular; CSX; Darden Foundation; DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Dominion Energy; Duke Energy; Equitable; Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation; FirstEnergy Foundation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Humble Bundle; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; Lenovo; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Mastercard; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Old Dominion Freight Line; Procter & Gamble; Prudential Financial; Raytheon Technologies; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; Trane Technologies Charitable Foundation; U-Haul International; and U.S. Bank Foundation.