One year ago, the entire East Coast braced itself for potential disaster, watching anxiously as Hurricane Irene formed in the Atlantic and took aim at U.S. shores. Irene’s path put 65million people in danger along the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to New England.
By the time the storm blew itself out, it claimed 56 lives and amassed $15.6 billion dollars in damages making it the fifth costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Simultaneously, Tropical Storm Lee came ashore in Louisiana spawning tornadoes and flooding along the GulfCoast.
The Red Cross response to these two storms was immense. Nearly 9,000 Red Cross disaster workers from across the country provided more than 70,000 overnight stays in more than 600 shelters and served more than 2.5 million meals and snacks and distributed nearly a million relief items. However, even into July of this year, the Red Cross continued to assist people affected by these two storms.
Now, once again, we turn our eyes to the South and see Tropical Storms Isaac and Joyce roaring toward the United States, and once again, the Red Cross throughout the Carolinas is gearing up to help those affected.
Currently, 12 volunteers and staff from North Carolina are moving toward the state of Florida and two from Upstate South Carolina.
Right now, the Red Cross is advising residents across the South East to prepare for the storm. We urge people pay attention to and heed the warnings of state officials and weather forecasters. In addition, review evacuation plans, pack an emergency kit and suitcases in case you have to leave your homes.
One great tool that could be used to prepare for and respond if evacuations are ordered is the new Red Cross Hurricane app available for free on Google Play and iTunes for smart phones. The app allows you to track the storms, receive weather alerts, update social media with the click of a button, and learn the location of shelters if you need to leave your home.
As the storms move and grow, so will Red Cross resources, and if needed, additional volunteers and staff from the Carolinas will respond to help those in need. Check back with us for updates.