Hurricane Willa is set to merge with a strong cold front and send a major nor’easter up the East Coast this weekend, bringing rain, strong winds, coastal surge and even snow to the region. The American Red Cross has safety steps people in the path of this storm should follow.
Hurricane Willa made landfall in Mexico and will bring rain to areas already recovering from flooding, namely Texas and neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. Texans are preparing for flash flooding and heavy rain and tornadoes are possible across the southeast. Over the weekend the storm will travel up the East Coast with winds as strong as 70 mph, coastal flooding, power outages and snow from parts of Pennsylvania north to New England.
There are 3 easy steps people can take to be “Red Cross Ready” for an emergency:
1. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at redcross.org/store.
2. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
3. Be informed. Learn about the community’s emergency response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.
Know the difference. A flood/flash flood watch means a flood/flash flood is possible in your area. A flood/flash flood warning means flooding/flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Follow any evacuation orders.
- Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates. People should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials.
- Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby.
- If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
- Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly 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.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
- Keep children and pets out of the water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
WHAT TO DO IF THE POWER GOES OUT
- Use flashlights in the dark, not candles.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
- If you are using a generator, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Plug appliances directly into the generator, never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Keep these devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer.
- If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to expert first aid advice right at your fingertips. Use the Emergency App for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.