Hurricane Harvey: Red Cross Urges Gulf Coast Residents to Make Emergency Preparations Now by Donna John
The American Red Cross is preparing a large response effort as Hurricane Harvey bears down on Texas and Louisiana and urges everyone in the path of the storm to get ready now. The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Harvey could become a Category 3 hurricane by the time the storm makes landfall along the Gulf Coast Friday night – making it the first hurricane to strike Texas in almost nine years. Some areas could see as many as 30 inches of rain and sustained winds as strong as 86 mph. Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings are already up in Texas, and several counties have issued voluntary evacuation orders for low lying areas.
GET READY NOW. Take these three steps:
- Build a disaster kit.
- Come up with an emergency plan.
- Be informed about how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels. (Full details are available here.)
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have real time information about the storm, shelter locations and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to RedCross.org/apps.
Here are 10 hurricane safety tips:
- Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning.
- A Hurricane Watch means conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
- A Hurricane Warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
- Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings: Take these alerts seriously. They often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds.
- Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates and obey any evacuation orders from local officials.
- Be prepared to evacuate quickly. You can find shelters by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.
- Fill your car's gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
- Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.
- Create an evacuation plan for your household. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. If you already have a disaster kit, replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies.
- Don't forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Additional pet safety tips are available.