By Eric Alves, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio
July 27, 2020- Earlier this year, weather experts predicted that the 2020 hurricane season would be one of the most intense seasons in recent memory. So far, the early hurricane season has not made any efforts to debunk those predictions, with an unprecedented 8 named storms already developing, with 4 months remaining in the season.
Currently there are two different storms affecting different regions of the United States, which the American Red Cross is actively monitoring to assist residents in need.
- Record-earliest eighth named storm in the Atlantic Basin and the first hurricane of the season.
- Downgraded to a tropical storm overnight after making landfall twice Saturday evening along southern Texas’s Gulf coast as a Category 1 hurricane.
- Heavy rainfall has already produced numerous reports of flash flooding across south Texas, and tropical storm conditions are expected to continue Sunday afternoon.
Red Cross Response:
In response to Hanna, the Red Cross has pre-positioned thousands of cots, blankets and other shelter supplies across the Gulf Coast.
The Red Cross has also opened 3 Red Cross shelters in Cameron, Nueces and Kleberg Counties and is supporting the state with hotel stays as needed. The Red Cross is also serving hundreds of meals and snacks with partners so far.
- First Eastern Pacific major hurricane of the season as it became a Category 4 storm on July 24. As of Sunday morning, Douglas was downgraded to a Category 1 storm.
- Although some slow weakening is anticipated over the next two days, Douglas is expected to maintain its hurricane intensity as it passes dangerously close to the main Hawaiian Islands on Sunday and into Monday. If it does make landfall, it would be only the third hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii.
- With the close passage of the storm, damaging winds, flooding rainfall, dangerously high surf and mudslides could threaten the islands. Impacts from Douglas will first impact the Big Island before moving to Maui and other islands into the beginning of this week.
Red Cross Response:
The Red Cross has pre-positioned relief supplies to support residents in need. The Red Cross is also currently supporting 5 government-run evacuation centers and several more are expected to open today.
In addition to Hanna and Douglas, the Red Cross is closely monitoring Invest 92L in the Atlantic. It is expected to move westward during the next several days, and it could become a tropical depression or storm this week as it moves toward the Lesser Antilles.
While a busy hurricane season, along with a busy wildfire season, is enough cause for concern, the current environment surrounding COVID-19 is making responding to disasters more difficult.
As COVID-19 numbers increase, it is making it challenging for the Red Cross to deploy trained disaster volunteers to other parts of the country should an emergency occur. To help respond to these disasters, the Red Cross needs volunteers from the Northern Ohio Region
, who are willing to travel when necessary, to lend a helping hand.
Shelter Help Needed
There is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts. Because of COVID-19, the Red Cross is placing those needing a safe place to stay in emergency hotel lodging when possible. If hotel stays aren’t possible, then the Red Cross will open traditional shelters. To help keep people safe, we have put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.
We need volunteers to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks to help those we serve. We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.
Health Services Support Needed
If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with an active, current and unencumbered license, the Red Cross needs your support. Volunteers are needed in shelters to help assess people’s health. Daily observation and health screening for COVID-19-like illness among shelter residents may also be required. RNs supervise all clinical tasks.
Roles are also available for Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Home Health Aides, student nurses and medical students. We need volunteers who can provide care as delegated by a licensed nurse in shelters. This could include assisting with activities of daily living, personal assistance services, providing health education and helping to replace medications, durable medical equipment or consumable medical supplies.
If you are interested in helping our community should a disaster occur, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday