March 13, 2023 – The American Red Cross is responding all over California where millions of people face the threat of more heavy snow and flooding as a new atmospheric river covers the state.
The latest atmospheric river is headed toward the Golden State and expected to bring rainfall on Tuesday.
More than half of California is under a state of emergency due to the previous storms and this week’s severe weather.
Millions of people face flood watches and warnings as the latest severe weather threatens to drop as much as another eight inches of rain on California.
The National Weather Service (NWS) reports this latest storm system — the 11th atmospheric river in the Golden State this winter — will affect California’s weather through Wednesday, causing more widespread flooding, especially in the lower elevations.
As of 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 13th, 6 Red Cross and partner emergency shelters and 1 Temporary Evacuation Point are open throughout Central California to provide safe refuge from the storm.
Everyone is welcome at a Red Cross shelter, and all Red Cross disaster assistance is free.
SHELTERS ARE OPEN: Central California Region
Central Valley Chapter
· Tulare County: Porterville College Gym (100 E College Ave, Porterville, CA 93257)
· Tulare County (County Managed): Exeter Veterans Memorial Building (324 N Kaweah Ave, Exeter, CA 93221)
· Mariposa County: New Life Christian Fellowship (5089 Cole Rd, Mariposa, CA 95338) Please Note: Pets are not accepted at this shelter
· Fresno County: Sanger Community Center (730 Recreation Avenue, Sanger, CA 93657)
Kern County & Eastern Sierra Chapter
· Kern County: Kern Valley High School (3340 Erskine Creek Rd, Lake Isabella, CA 93240)
· NEW: Kern County: 11th Street Community Center (200 W. 11th Street, Delano, CA 93215)
· NEW: Closed: Kern County: Horizon Elementary School (800 Garzoli Ave, McFarland, CA 93285)
· Closed: Kern County: The Elks Lodge (6708 Wofford Blvd, Wofford Heights, CA 93285)
TEMPORARY EVACUATION POINT (Tulare County)
With the incoming winter storms and current flood watch for Tulare County, a local Temporary Evacuation Points (TEP) has been set up to assist residents who are in need of information and resources or who may become displaced due to flooding. They are located at:
· Dinuba Memorial Hall, 249 S Alta Avenue, Dinuba, CA 93618
Everyone is welcome at Red Cross shelters, and anyone affected by the storms can always stop by the shelter to access Red Cross services, whether or not they are staying overnight at the shelter.
ITEMS THOSE GOING TO A RED CROSS SHELTER ARE WELCOME TO BRING
When you come to a Red Cross shelter, you are welcome to bring:
· Special items for children, like food/formula, diapers, extra clothing, toys, etc.
· Items for pets, including a leash, pet medications and pet food.
· Prescription medications and medical devices you may need, as well as a face mask.
· Comfort items like pillows, blankets, towels, change of clothing or other items you may want to have with you at the shelter.
FIND A SHELTER If you need a safe place to stay or a hot meal, find open shelters on redcross.org/shelter, the free Red Cross Emergency app or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) and selecting the disaster option. You can also find shelters by following your local county and city officials on social media or monitoring local news.
YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS ((800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
For those interested in helping people specifically affected by the recent storms and floods in California, we ask that they write “California Storms and Floods” in the memo line of a check and mail it with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter. Find the donation form at redcross.org/donate.
Volunteers are needed – Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up to become a trained Red Cross volunteer.
The Red Cross is coordinating with County officials across the region to respond to the storm’s impacts as needed. We encourage the community to take time to be prepared to evacuate and gather essential supplies now.
HOW TO PREPARE
With additional storms on the horizon, be sure you’re Red Cross Ready. That means:
· Assembling an emergency preparedness kit.
· Creating a household evacuation plan that includes your pets.
· Don’t forget your pets. You can find winter pet safety steps here.
· Staying informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
· Ensuring each family member knows how to get back in touch if you are separated during an emergency.
· Turn around, don’t drown! Stay off the roads. If you must drive and encounter a flooded roadway, turn around immediately and go another way.
· Follow evacuation routes and do not try to take shortcuts, they may be blocked.
· Stay away from floodwaters. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around floodwaters and your home.
· Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwaters.
· Offer to help people who require special assistance including older adults, those without transportation, large families, people with disabilities and the people who care for them.
· If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
· Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
· If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
· Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
· If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
· 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. Full generator safety information is available here.
· 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.
Here are steps you should take to stay safe during this dangerous weather:
Winter weather can bring life-threatening conditions. Stay indoors and wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm clothes.
· Check on relatives, neighbors and friends, particularly if they are elderly or live alone.
· Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling snow, pushing a vehicle or walking in deep snow.
· Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
· Make sure you have enough heating fuel on hand.
· If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
STAY SAFE OUTSIDE Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat.
· Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air.
· Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
· Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
· Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
· Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
· Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
TRAVEL SAFETY Avoid travel if you can. If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
· Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary.
· Bring your cell phone and make sure the battery is charged.
· Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, take another person with you.
· Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive.
· Before leaving, check the weather reports for all areas you will be passing through.
· Watch out for sleet, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and dense fog.
If you are stranded, stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters).
· Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
· Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
· Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
· If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping.
· Huddle together for warmth. Wrap yourself in newspapers, maps, and even the removable floor mats to help trap more body heat.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/centralcalifornia or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossCCR.