The American Red Cross is ready to respond to Hurricane Earl from North Carolina to New England, preparing to open shelters and feed those affected by the Category 3 storm that is bearing down on the United States, bringing heavy rains and sustained winds blowing at 125 mph.
“We are making preparations for Earl’s landfall, and we urge everyone who may be in the path of the storm to also get prepared and follow the instructions of local authorities about evacuating,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Indications are that the storm will affect those who are miles inland from the coast. Being ready is your best protection against a storm like this.”
All along the eastern seaboard, the Red Cross is working with various state, county and local government officials to determine what their areas will need. Emergency planning is taking place in North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
In North Carolina, evacuation orders have been issued for some of the barrier islands. Earl could arrive in the state by late Thursday or early Friday, and the Red Cross has 14 shelters ready to open with more than 80 additional shelter sites identified if needed. Updated shelter location information is readily available on the Red Cross website by clicking “Find a Shelter.”
People who are evacuating can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website, accessible at www.redcross.org, so that friends and relatives can find out how they are. For those who don’t have internet access, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. Follow the prompts for disaster information.
The Red Cross has trained disaster workers from across the country on alert to help respond to Hurricane Earl. Nearly 40 Red Cross mobile response vehicles will arrive in North Carolina today, part of more than 150 of these response vehicles put on alert to travel to the East Coast from as far away from the coast as Michigan and Wisconsin.
The Red Cross has four warehouses stocked with relief supplies are on stand-by, and two trailers of relief supplies are en route to North Carolina, carrying clean-up kits, tarps, work gloves, comfort kits, and trash bags.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Warning for the East Coast from Bogue Inlet, North Carolina to southern Virginia. A Hurricane Watch has been extended northward from the North Carolina-Virginia border to Cape Henlopen, Delaware. Residents all along the coast all the way to New England are cautioned to pay attention to the storm. Other areas of North Carolina are under a Tropical Storm Watch.
A Hurricane Warning means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours and anyone in the warning area should complete their storm preparations and leave the area if told to do so by authorities. A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions are a threat within the next 48 hours and people should be ready to act if a Hurricane Warning is issued.
If someone’s community is under a Hurricane Warning or Watch, they should listen for critical information from the National Weather Service. Other steps they should take include:
- Check disaster supplies and restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If hurricane shutters aren’t available, board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Fill the car’s gas tank.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Make plans for any pets.
- Evacuate if authorities advise to do so.
More information about what people can do if they are in the projected path of the storm can be found at www.redcross.org.
The storms in the Atlantic Ocean are causing powerful rip currents. The Red Cross advises anyone visiting the shore areas to swim only on lifeguard protected beaches and within designated swimming areas.
To make a financial donation to the Red Cross to help people affected by this storm and other disasters here in the United States and around the world, people can click, call or text – visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The storm may also impact blood collections in the affected areas. To find out how you can be a blood donor, visit www.redcrossblood.org
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.