Video: Hurricane Irene spurs evacuations in Outer Banks

Tony Schiano and his wife have a summer home in Duck on the Outer Banks, NC. They spent the last week boarding up the home and preparing for Hurricane Irene and decided to evacuate as soon as possible.

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Local volunteers head to the Coast

As damage from heavy rain remains a threat to areas of the Cape Fear region, the American Red Cross continues to shelter residents displaced from their homes due to flooding.

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The Greater Carolinas Chapter of the Red Cross has deployed three people to the Coast to help with relief efforts: Rick Schou, Vic McIntyre and Art Parker.

Vic and Art left this morning in the Emergency Response Vehicle. The vehicle serves as a mobile feeding unit, and Vic and Art will drive it into different areas that have been affected by the floods, providing residents meals.

The Red Cross currently has 12 shelters open along the Coast to help those who have been affected by the floods.

In preparation for this storm, the Red Cross prepositioned shelter support trailers with cots and blankets as well as kitchen support trailers throughout the state. 100 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) and their volunteer teams were placed on alert.

Last month Hurricane Earl made its way up the east coast past North Carolina.  On one night alone more than 250 people stayed in a dozen Red Cross Shelters in North Carolina.  The Red Cross was able to respond immediately to the needs of those affected because of our readiness efforts ahead of the storm. The Red Cross spent more than $250,000 responding to Hurricane Earl.

Want to help? Make a donation to the American Red Cross.

For My Birthday, I Got a Hurricane

This is a post written by Jackie Mitchell, Director of Marketing and Communications at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. Jackie was deployed to Cape Cod in advance of Earl’s forecasted sweep by the east coast. Read about her experience with helping the Red Cross be prepared for the possible storm, and how it felt to be spared a disaster. Remember, September is National Preparedness Month!

Early last week, I was looking forward to a Friday night party with friends, family and Red Cross donors and volunteers. Friday was my birthday and almost-one-year-anniversary as the Director of Marketing and Communications with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I was making plans for a menu and music for the people who’ve made my 32nd year such a good one.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Earl was spinning like a sawmill blade toward the Outer Banks, and D.C.’s national headquarters (HQ) were making plans of their own.

Mid-week, I got the deployment call to go “somewhere on the eastern seaboard, probably Cape Cod” and help work with national and local media. Together, we would inform people how to prepare for the worst and help in the areas that would be hit. I would fly out first thing Thursday morning, and expect Earl to strike the Cape the evening of my birthday. Within minutes of national HQ’s call, Chicago Red Cross co-workers and volunteers began helping me prepare to deploy.

One tweeted, “Happy Birthday. I got you a Hurricane.”

>“>Read the rest of Jackie’s post >>

Hurricane Hermine Threatens Floods

Floods are slow-motion disasters that often create a flood of worries and require a flood of support.

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There are major floods happening all over the world – in Pakistan (you can donate via American Red Cross for relief and I urge you to check out the images at Boston.com’s The Big Picture) and in Guatemala- view the video below.

Today we’re gearing up for possible flooding in Texas and maybe even Oklahoma because of Tropical Storm Hermine. The Weather Channel has an extensive analysis of the possibilities:

We urge everyone to review our flood tips.

How did Katrina affect you?

This week marks five years since Hurricane Katrina crashed into our collective lives.

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Refugees from Hurricane Katrina sleep in the former Charlotte Coliseum.

View our latest press release including a five-year report and how our chapter assisted refugees of Katrina.

We’ve set up a page on our website that showcases the American Red Cross’s impact on survivors of the storm and we encourage you to watch the videos and read our report.

Hurricane Prediction Challenge

Scott Maxwell from the Orlando Sentinel thinks a monkey, his kids and a psychic can predict hurricanes as well as a meteorologist can. image

Maxwell writes:

There. Now I’ve officially done my part, as a member of the media, to try to scare the pants off you for hurricane season.

Every year we do it — largely with the help of alleged “forecasters” such as Dr. William Gray, who supposedly look into their crystal ball and predict the number of storms we’ll get.

Usually they’re wrong. Often very wrong.

In fact, a few years ago, I got to thinking a monkey could do just as well. So I decided to test that theory.

I got a couple of monkeys from the Sanford zoo to make predictions — along with my then-4-year-old son. The monkeys beat Gray and my preschooler in a couple of categories. But Gray won the tie-breaker.

So, with Gray and the rest of the weather community screaming barometric bloody murder again this year, I thought it was time to stage another hurricane-prediction contest.

NOAA’s predictions are now out.

We suppose time will tell but encourage everyone in prone areas to go ahead and get prepared.

What are your predictions for this hurricane season? Are you getting ready?

Hurricane Safety Checklist