American Red Cross sets up shelter after EF-3 tornado tears through Nash County

Monique John Image
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Where to get help, shelter for tornado victims
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The American Red Cross has opened a shelter to families and individuals whose homes were hit by an EF-3 tornado Wednesday.

RED OAK, N.C. (WTVD) -- The American Red Cross is helping families and individuals whose homes were hit by an EF-3 tornado on Wednesday.

The Red Cross said Thursday that it has closed its shelters that opened the day before and now has transitioned to a resource center at Dortches Baptist Church, 4776 Dortches Blvd., in Rocky Mount.

"Many people are assessing the damage to their homes but many people are also struggling with power outages as well, or the power has been shut off until the power can be evaluated," Red Cross representative Cally Edwards said Wednesday. "And so, this shelter is a place where people can come, have power, have AC and connect with the Red Cross and resources."

Volunteers at the previous Red Cross shelter told ABC11 they were hoping to accommodate about 50 people.

"They weren't expecting this, this came out of nowhere for them, and so the Red Cross and our partners are doing everything we can to make sure that we can help these folks during this difficult time," Edwards said.

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The Red Cross is asking anyone who needs assistance to bring essential items for each member of their family including:

  • Prescription and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet special dietary requirements
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, and other comfort items
  • Chargers for any electronic devices
  • Books, games and other forms of entertainment

There is also a designated resource site at Rocky Mount Senior Center: 427 S. Church Street, (right beside the Train Station in downtown Rocky Mount). It is open 24/7 until further notice.

The resource center can help find housing accommodation and provide food.

Below are steps the Red Cross says should be followed in the case of a weather emergency:


  • Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
  • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children, and the elderly or disabled.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.


  • Use flashlights in the dark - not candles.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will likely be congested.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and appliances. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light on, so you'll know when power is restored.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, or any partially enclosed area. Keep these devices outside away from doors, windows, and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first, then, food from the freezer. If the power outage continues beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and cover it at all times.


  • Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Adults age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants and children, and athletes may feel the effects of the heat more than others.
  • If you don't have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun's rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors, and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

For more information visit here.

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