Red Cross preparing for hurricane flooding

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia dodged one bullet, but another is on its way.

Last week the American Red Cross Northwest West Virginia Region made preparations for the impact of Hurricane Gordon, said Executive Director Sharon Kesselring.

Gordon passed and so did the flooding threat, she said.

But Hurricane Florence is bearing down and expected to reach the shores of the Carolinas on Thursday.

“We’ve been working on this since Friday,” Kesselring said.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Florence will cause a life-threatening storm surge, flooding from rain and hurricane-force winds.

The concern is flooding in West Virginia as the storm moves inland, Kesselring said. The Red Cross is monitoring and tracking the storm’s path and the water levels in rivers and streams, she said.

“That’s changing all the time,” Kesselring said.

Red Cross disaster volunteers have been prepared to be sent to a situation if needed, said Kesselring, speaking Tuesday at a preparedness workshop for residents at Lakeview Estates. September is preparedness month and Tuesday was the 17th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

“When we get an idea at what point we can determine we are OK here, then volunteers will be free to deploy to areas outside the state,” Kesselring said. “Our first concern is here in West Virginia.”

Preparations already have been made in the event shelters are needed because of flooding in this area and elsewhere in West Virginia, from Florence, Kesselring said.

“We are prepared,” she said.

Five Red Cross volunteers participated in the preparedness workshop at the Lakeview Estates on Lakeview Drive: Don McDonie, Susan Hughes, Mary Hughes, Joyce Anderson and Jean Brothers.

Residents were briefed about kitchen safety, home safety including burning candles, never smoking in bed, smoke alarms, flooding and escape plans.

“In situations beyond their control, they need to be able to get out of their apartment safely,” she said.

Organizations, agencies and residential complexes interested in a workshop can call Kesselring at 304 482-5279.