Juan Carlos and Maria Mendoza-Medina were asleep in bed the morning of March 30 when a large tornado destroyed the front half of their home in the Woodbridge Estates Mobile Home Community in Springdale, Arkansas. “We have lived here for 15 years, and we have never seen anything like this,” said Maria. Their home suffered significant damage, including significant structural damage.
In the same community, the home owned by Maria Perez had the entire front taken off by the tornado and workers were trying to do repairs as quickly as possible. Maria, at nine months pregnant, is expecting her new baby any day now. She and her family of six, soon to be seven, were sound asleep when the tornado hit but were fortunate to have escaped with no serious injuries.
The Vega family was sound asleep in Woodbridge Estates when the sound of pounding on the roof woke them up. Maria said what she heard next was a sound, like a train, so loud that she covered her ears. “it seemed like just five seconds of pounding and wind blowing, and then it stopped,” she said. Everything was quiet again. When the family awoke the next day, they found that their home had sustained major damage, and it was clear from the baseball size dents on their metal roof that the pounding they had heard was balls of hail hitting the home.
In all three instances, financial assistance from the Red Cross will allowed the families to make their own decisions and prioritize what they need most to start recovering. The funds can help them replace clothes or food, offset transportation costs, or support any other immediate need.
SAFETY STEPS As the new storm system moves into place, here are the top Red Cross safety steps people should follow:
TORNADO SAFETY Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon.
- Know your community’s warning system, for example many areas use outdoor sirens.
- Watch for tornado danger signs: dark and greenish clouds, a wall cloud or cloud of debris.
- Bring your pets indoors and keep an eye on them.
- During a tornado warning, go to your safe place immediately — a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. In a high-rise, pick a hallway in the center of the building.
If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building or vehicle. No mobile home is safe in a tornado.