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Red Cross urges people to get ready now for heavy rain and flooding from Harvey

Photo: Shutterstock

Tropical Depression Harvey is headed toward Texas with strong winds and heavy rain, and the American Red Cross urges people in Central Texas to get prepared now. Harvey is a dangerous and still unpredictable storm that could bring damaging winds, very heavy rainfall and dangerous inland flooding to our area.
“This is a powerful storm and people should get ready now,” said John Cummins, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross, Central and South Texas Region. “The local Red Cross is prepared to open shelters here at home or support our neighboring regions that may be impacted, and we urge people to take steps now to keep their families and homes safe.”
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP
Everyone should download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts and information on what to do in the case of a flood. The app also displays shelter locations. The app includes tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps.
CREATE AND PRACTICE A DISASTER PLAN
Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. To locate the nearest Red Cross emergency shelter, check your Emergency App or visit redcross.org/shelter. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress. 
HAVE A DISASTER KIT
People should get their disaster kits ready. Include a gallon of water per person - enough for three days, three-day supply of non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a hand crank weather radio, first aid kit, medications, personal hygiene items, extra cash, cell phone and chargers, family and emergency contact information, copies of important papers and a map of the area. More details on what to include are available here.
HEED FLOOD WARNINGS
Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information.  A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there. 
NEVER DRIVE ON FLOODED ROADS
Don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Stay out of areas subject to flooding. Underpasses, dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. can become filled with water.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
EVACUATION SHELTERS
The Red Cross is prepared to open shelters if needed for both gulf coast evacuees and local flooding. If someone is coming to a shelter and has time to prepare, they should bring any prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. If possible, they should also include any special items for children such as diapers, formula and toys, and items needed by family members with unique needs.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood, please visit redcross.org/prepare/ disaster/flood.

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