As people recover from the severe weather of the last several weeks, at least 18 states are threatened by a new powerful storm system that could bring severe thunderstorms, strong winds, hail and possible tornadoes over the next several days.
For some regions in the south, this will be the fourth consecutive week to be threatened by severe weather. There have been 346 confirmed tornadoes across the country so far in 2022, which have claimed the lives of 13 people. In fact, in March the country saw the most tornadoes in a single month in U.S. history.
Meanwhile, elevated to critical wildfire conditions are affecting many of the Plains states and the American Red Cross is prepared to respond if necessary. Since the start of the year, there have been almost 17,300 wildfires in the U.S., consuming more than 831,000 acres.
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.
WILDFIRES Elevated to critical fire weather is forecast for much of the Rockies into the Plains. The most critical conditions are forecast over the central High Plains and much of New Mexico into west Texas where west winds could gust to 60 mph. It is critical for people to make their preparedness plans now:
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and obey all evacuation orders from officials.
- Keep track of fires near you so you can be ready to evacuate quickly.
- Find an outdoor water source such as a pond, well, even a swimming pool, and have a hose that can reach any area of your property.
- Make sure driveway entrances and your house number are clearly marked so fire vehicles can get to your home.
- Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency app to have severe weather safety information right at your fingertips. The Emergency app provides real-time weather alerts and tips on how to stay safe during severe weather and countless other emergencies. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps.
CORPORATIONS 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.; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PetSmart Charities; The Starbucks Foundation; State Farm; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Truist Foundation; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; Aon; Best Buy; Calmoseptine, Inc.; Capital One; CarMax; Citi; The Clorox Company; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company Fund; Fox Corporation; General Motors; HCA Healthcare; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; The Kroger Co. Foundation; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Mastercard; Merck; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; Organon; PayPal; PepsiCo Foundation; Salesforce; Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation & Southeastern Grocers, home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; Stanley Black & Decker; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; USAA; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and The Wawa Foundation.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; American Express; Ameriprise Financial, Inc.; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; Barclays; Big 5 Sporting Goods; Bread Financial; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Company; CSX; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Dollar General; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equitable; FirstEnergy Corporation; Gopuff; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Humble Bundle; Kaiser Permanente; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; The Labcorp Charitable Foundation; Lenovo Foundation; LHC Group; Major League Baseball; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Martin Marietta; Mattress Firm; McKesson; MetLife Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; NextEra Energy, Inc.; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Old Dominion Freight Line; Pacific Life Foundation; Procter & Gamble; Prudential Financial; Raytheon Technologies; Reckitt; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Project; Ross Stores Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; ServiceNow, Inc.; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; U-Haul International; and U.S. Bank Foundation.