Nearly 200 homes damaged in NC storm, Red Cross says - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Nearly 200 homes damaged in NC storm, Red Cross says

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The American Red Cross has launched a large relief operation across 11 states to help people affected by yesterday's devastating tornado outbreak in the South and Midwest.

Weather experts reported as many as 95 confirmed tornadoes touched down, destroying communities from the Great Lakes to the Southeast.

Locally, the Red Cross is on the ground in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties. Early damage assessment numbers show nearly 200 homes have been affected in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties; nearly 40 with major damage and at leave 5 destroyed.

That number is expected to rise as more damage reports come in.

The Red Cross has set up two shelters in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg:

  • Hickory Ridge High School - Harrisburg, NC
  • North Ridge High School - Charlotte, NC

The Red Cross is on the ground providing affected residents with food, water and clean-up kits as they begin to sort through debris. 

"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by these severe storms this week," said Angela A. Broome, chief executive officer of the Carolina Piedmont Region of the American Red Cross.

"Our top priorities right now are making sure people have a safe place to stay, a warm meal and a shoulder to lean on as they begin to clean-up their neighborhoods. The Red Cross is also working closely with our government and community partners to make sure everyone gets the help they need."

Friday night, the Red Cross opened or supported 22 shelters in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Across the affected states, trained Red Cross disaster workers are mobilizing to begin feeding operations and distribution of relief supplies.

Red Cross health services and mental health workers also will be out in neighborhoods help people cope with what they've seen and experienced. And damage assessment teams will also help the Red Cross and our partners discover the full scope of the damage.

If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes and floods, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Locate a shelter. People can find Red Cross shelters by contacting local emergency officials, visiting www.redcross.org, or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). iPhone users can download a free Red Cross shelter view app from the app store.

People affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the secure Red Cross Safe and Well website, where they can also update their Facebook and Twitter status. If you don't have computer access, you can also register by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Loved ones outside the disaster area can use Safe and Well to find information about loved ones in the affected areas by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Smart phone users can visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the "List Yourself as Safe and Well" or "Search for friends and family" link. 

Follow safety steps. As people begin to deal with the aftermath of the tornadoes, the Red Cross reminds people they should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also: 

  • Stay out of damaged buildings and immediately report any fallen power lines or broken gas lines to the utility companies.
  • Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings. If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department. 

More tornado safety information is available on Preparedness Section of the Red Cross website.                   

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