A storm system in the Gulf of Mexico could hit the Gulf Coast sometime tomorrow, bringing as much as a foot of rain and dangerous flooding to states already saturated from earlier storms. The American Red Cross is monitoring the situation to respond if necessary and urges people in the region to make their storm preparations now.
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle could see the heaviest rain. If the storm strengthens as experts predict, it would be named Claudette, the third named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA reports this year there could be 3 to 5 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. 2020’s hurricane season set records with 30 named storms and billions of dollars in damages. Read more about what to expect during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.
Here are safety steps people should follow if they are in the path of these storms:
- 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. 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.
SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY
- Watch for storm signs, such as darkening skies, lightning flashes and increasing wind.
- If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger of lightning.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning aren’t in the area where it’s raining.
- If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed.
- Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
- Avoid using electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered or hand-crank radios instead.
- Keep away from windows.
- Don’t take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park.
- Stay in your vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
- If you’re outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall or isolated trees and metal objects, such as fences and bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe places to be.
DOWNLOAD OUR APPS. The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe with real-time alerts, shelter locations and safety advice. The Red Cross First Aid and Pet First Aid apps provide instant access to information on handling the most common emergencies. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps. Parents can also download the Red Cross Monster Guard App for a fun way to teach children what to do in case of a flood, hurricane and other emergencies.