Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday, bringing with it significant amounts of rain that could threaten lives. It’s anticipated that the rain will cause serious flooding in North Carolina, South Carolina and surrounding states. Large areas are expected to be without power. The hurricane is currently expected to head inland before going up the east coast and will impact interior communities as well. 

The American Red Cross is launching a massive emergency response to Florence. With evacuation orders issued to more than a million people, it is estimated that as many as 100,000 may need emergency shelter. The Red Cross is working with state and local officials to support evacuation centers.

Florence is also expected to cause catastrophic storm surges that will reach up to 4 metres high. A storm surge happens when there is a pressure change mixed with strong wind causing the sea to rise. There could also be tornadoes. The combined effects of this hurricane could disrupt power, water and sewer systems, as well as phone services for a significant amount of time.

The American Red Cross is ready.

More than 1,500 disaster workers are ready to go, and additional volunteers are standing by. The American Red Cross has approximately 80 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and relief supplies to support those seeking shelter. They are also preparing to assist people with shelter and supplies until they can return safely home or find another place to stay.

Being ready for a storm like this means having an emergency kit and an evacuation route prepared. Anyone staying in an emergency shelter is asked to have any medications, extra clothing, hygiene products, important documents, and blankets with them. Being ready is the best defence. During a storm like this it is also important to keep track of weather updates and stay informed.

At this time, the Canadian Red Cross is monitoring the situation closely and is prepared to provide support as requested. Around the world, the Red Cross is always there and ready to help before, during and after a disaster.