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Yesterday, a slow moving line of severe weather moved across the Central United States spawning tornadoes and widespread severe weather. The American Red Cross is helping people in Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and other states by providing immediate shelter, food, relief supplies, health and mental health services. The chance of severe storms is moving eastward today and could impact people in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee where Red Cross Chapters are preparing by readying shelters, volunteers and supplies.
“This is so close to home,” said John Davis, Executive Director of Red Cross in Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas. “Yesterday’s storms had a severe impact on our neighbors in Arkansas and Oklahoma, claiming 18 lives and leaving almost 25,000 without power. Our hearts and sympathy are with all those impacted by these horrific storms.”
By Monday, the North Texas Region of Red Cross had deployed 6 emergency response vehicles and 15 disaster volunteers. As damage assessment is completed and the full scope of need is understood, it is expected that number will increase considerably.
Currently, The Red Cross is providing immediate shelter, food, clothing, health and mental health services in the affected areas and emergency response vehicles will be distributing food throughout.
Arkansas – Severe Weather
In Arkansas, Mayflower and Vilonia, and FaulknerCounty were particularly hard hit. As of 5:15 am there were approximately 20,500 people without power. The Red Cross responded, quickly opening shelters, providing meals, and communicated with Emergency Management. More than 200 people spent Sunday night in shelters in Arkansas that were opened or supported by Red Cross workers. Red Cross emergency vehicles will be distributing food throughout the affected areas.
North Carolina – Severe Weather
A line of severe storms caused tornado activity and flooding that damaged as well as structures and left thousands of residents without power in the eastern portion of the state on Friday. The National Weather Service identified seven preliminary reports of tornado activity across six counties ranging in intensity from EF-1 to an EF-3 in BeaufortCounty. Disaster Action Team Members from the Red Cross communicated with Emergency Management, provided individual assistance to displaced residents and will send additional support later this morning after roads are cleared and safe for travel.
Kansas – Severe Weather
A line of severe storms caused tornado activity that damaged homes in CherokeeCounty on Sunday. A State of Emergency is declared. Team members from the Red Cross were deployed to the scene to assess damage and determine response for affected residents.
Missouri – Severe Weather
Widespread storms threatened residents in several portions of the state, caused damages and disrupted traffic on Sunday. Tornado Watches and Warnings are in effect. The Red Cross talked with local Emergency Management and is monitoring in preparation of response.
Oklahoma – Severe Weather
A line of severe storms caused tornado activity and flooding that damaged homes as well as buildings and affected residents in multiple counties in the state on Sunday. The Red Cross communicated with Emergency Management, deployed team members to provide assistance to residents within the affected area and opened a shelter.
Tennessee – Severe Weather
A strong and slow moving storm system with the potential for large hail, damaging winds and tornado activity was forecast for portions of the state late Sunday thru Tuesday. The Red Cross placed resources on standby in anticipation of response to the storm.
Louisiana – Severe Weather
The Red Cross is monitoring the situation as the storms make their way east throughout the day. Minor damage was reported and the region is following up to see if services are needed.
SEVERE WEATHER NOT OVER More severe weather is expected today through parts of the Midwest, South and Southeast. The American Red Cross wants to make sure you know what to do in the event of a tornado. We encourage you to download our free Red Cross Tornado App which includes more safety information as well as alerts for tornado watches and warnings in your area. It also helps you locate a shelter if you need a safe place to weather the storm.
Individuals directly impacted by severe weather and tornadoes can let friends and family know they are safe through the app with the customizable “I’m Safe” notification, sharable through social media, text and email. The app also includes a Red Cross, location-based open shelters map for when you need it most.
Over the weekend, Red Cross sent out over 2.1 million severe weather notifications through its tornado app.
HOW YOU CAN HELP “Relief efforts of this magnitude are both a sprint and a marathon,” Said Davis. “Disaster workers, supplies and vehicles were rolling from our North Texas Region before the sun came up Monday morning to provide immediate support. However, it’s important for our community to understand this will be an extended effort and there is plenty time for us to contribute. Volunteers and funds will be important in the coming days and weeks to sustain this relief operation.”
Davis continued, “Financial contributions allow Red Cross to purchase needed items from the area surrounding the disaster, and helps to boost the local economic base after a disaster. Additionally, it saves the necessary logistics and cost to warehouse and process locally-donated good. And of course, trained volunteer responders are the lifeblood of our service delivery. With so many deployed, we appreciate those who come forward to begin their training. In times like this, when Red Cross relief teams and resources are stretched, it is extremely fulfilling to see our community come forward with their funds and volunteer service.”
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.