Red Cross readies for storm response

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The local chapter of the American Red Cross is gearing up to provide disaster relief should heavy rainfall lead to flooding in the area. Image courtesy Cape Fear chapter of the American Red Cross.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross is gearing up to provide disaster relief should heavy rainfall lead to flooding in the area. Image courtesy Cape Fear chapter of the American Red Cross.

As the Category 4 hurricane Joaquin continues to move north through the Atlantic Ocean, the American Red Cross is mobilizing in the Cape Fear region and across the state.

James Jarvis, disaster program specialist with the local chapter of the Red Cross, said even if the storm weakens, as predicted, before nearing the east coast, the rain could present a major problem for our area.

“What we do know for sure is that regardless of track, we are still in for quite a bit of rain across eastern North Carolina over the weekend due to an inland low pressure system,” Jarvis said. “This will compound the effects of the recent wet weather, as much of the ground is already saturated and we have experienced some significant coastal flooding and erosion in our coastal communities already.”

To prepare, the Red Cross is getting people and resources in place now. Jarvis said the organization is also communicating with emergency managers in each of the affected counties in the region regarding shelters should officials decide to open them to area residents.

“If they make the decision to open shelters, we will be prepared to provide shelter workers to man them…The decision to open shelters rests with the emergency manager for each municipality, so once they give us the green light, our workers swing into action,” he noted.

In the meantime, Jarvis added, people can take steps to get ready. The Red Cross offers a variety of resources to assist residents, including a free emergency app for download on Android and iOS devices. To download, visit redcross.org/apps, text “APPS” to 90999 or search “American Red Cross” in your mobile app store.

The Red Cross also suggests putting together an emergency supply kit, with food, water, batteries, flashlights, first aid items, extra cash and other implements.

Up-to-date information about the storm and emergency shelters can also be found on the Red Cross’ Facebook page. Click here to read information about power outage safety.