After enduring severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and widespread devastation, the Southern and Midwestern U.S. is preparing for yet another natural disaster – the flooding of the Mississippi River.
Water has swept through communities located along the river in five states, sending residents scrambling for safety. But as images of submerged homes, flooded farms, and stranded cars make their way into homes across America, another picture is coming to light.
Through all this devastation and destruction shines an example of the American spirit. Neighbors are helping neighbors rescue belongings from flooded homes. Organizations have set up temporary shelters. Volunteers have traveled long-distances to join sandbagging efforts.
This is America’s way.
We have always met our greatest challenges through the dedication and commitment of people who have given generously of themselves, asking nothing in return. Together, we are able to solve problems and make things better. In times of need, much like the situations we currently face, national service and volunteerism are an invaluable resource.
Currently, national service members – from the RSVP volunteer to the NCCC team – are deployed across the country assisting with response and recovery efforts after the most recent batch of storms and tornadoes. And we anticipate a response just as strong to the flooding, as well.
What You Can Do
If you or someone you know lives in an area that may be affected, follow the directions of local officials (including evacuation orders), as record flood levels are anticipated as the crest continues to move down river.
The National Weather Service remains the source for official weather information, and has issued flood warnings across several states, from Cairo, IL to Baton Rouge, LA, including Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana as rivers are expected to crest over the next few weeks.
Become familiar with the terms that are used to identify a flooding hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued:
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
- Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Portions of this post have been adapted from FEMA.gov.