Winter storms and El Niño conditions have certainly arrived, bringing with it dangerous flooding, blizzards, tornadoes, and mudslides. The stormy conditions have kept Red Cross volunteers busy across the nation as they work to provide safety and comfort to thousands of families.
Here on the west coast, teams have opened shelters in San Diego, Silverado Canyon, and Camarillo Springs, the site of the 2014 landslide that wiped out more than a dozen homes.
Further across the nation, hundreds more volunteers have been providing relief to residents affected by violent storms in Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.
“Red Cross people are special,” said Missouri flood survivor Dianna Bush, “It’s a family. They’re so happy to hug you.” Dianna and her dog survived the Meramec River flooding and like some people she’s relying on the Red Cross for shelter and food.
In just one month, since December 7, the Red Cross has served 86,000 meals and snacks, provided 1,900 overnight stays in emergency shelters, and distributed 56,000 relief items. In some areas, trained volunteer workers are also meeting one-on-one with people to help them plan their recovery.
Local Red Cross teams around the Central California Region are continuing to work with government partners to determine where help may be needed. Shelter supplies and volunteers are at the ready, for if and when local chapters are called into more action.
In the meantime, make sure your family is taking precautions to stay safe during these storms. Try not to travel when weather is bad, but if you must, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car with extra chargers, batteries, water, food, and emergency signalling tools like flares or reflective signs. Make sure to also have an emergency kit in your home with any necessities you need to survive for at least three days.
Visit redcross.org/elninopreparedness to learn more storm safety tips to keep your family safe this El Niño season.
Regional Director of Communications