There is a strong possibility of severe weather, including tornadoes, across the Southeast and as far north as the Mid-Atlantic region later this week and the American Red Cross urges everyone in those areas to get ready now.
Experts report the outbreak of severe weather “appears increasingly likely” Thursday and Friday with heavy rain, large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee on Thursday, with the weather system moving east to Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, possibly extending north toward the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic states on Friday.
The American Red Cross is preparing to respond if necessary and offers steps people should take to help them stay safe.
GET READY NOW
Take these three simple steps now to be prepared for any emergency situation: 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.
- First, build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio. Also include a first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool and personal hygiene items. And don’t forget to add copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
- Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure to coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Include your pets in your emergency plans. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet.
- Finally, stay informed by finding out what emergency situations may occur where you live, work and go to school, how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.
A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. Learn about your community’s warning system. Many communities use sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
- Watch for tornado danger signs: dark and greenish clouds, a wall cloud or cloud of debris.
- During a tornado warning, go to your safe place immediately, whether it’s a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. A small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
- If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. No mobile home is safe in a tornado. If you have access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, go there immediately.
- If you’re outside, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get in a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seat belt.
- Stay away from bridges or highway overpasses.
- If strong winds and flying debris occur while driving, pull over and park. Keep on your seat belt and the engine running. Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a blanket.
POWER OUTAGE SAFETY
- Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will likely be congested.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and appliances. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.
- 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 outside away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first, then, food from the freezer. If the power outage continues beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and cover it at all times.
DOWNLOAD OUR APPS. Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. 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.