This past weekend Pensacola, Florida as well as areas in Colorado and New Mexico experienced and are still experiencing natural disasters at record levels.
In Pensacola, Florida between Saturday and Sunday, Escambia County received over 20 inches of rain. More than 100 residents spent the night in three Red Cross shelters in Escambia County on Saturday night, including residents from a 50-unit apartment. Navy officials also set up housing for residents of a 22-home subdivision evacuated because of flooding, according to Red Cross officials. About 40 homes had some level of flooding around the city of Gulf Breeze, where heavy rains left about 4 feet of water and so far there is one casualty reported; a 23-year-old Mississippi man drowned off Florida’s Pensacola Beach. According to Escambia County officials, there has been at least $20 million in damage done to public buildings, roads, bridges and facilities stemming from the weekend’s near-record-breaking rainfall. However, this number does not take personal property into account. Hundreds of families are left with damages done to their homes leaving them uninhabitable. Many of these families will need assistance from the Red Cross to help them get back on their feet and into warm shelter.
Hundreds of miles to the west in Colorado and New Mexico, uncontainable wildfires swept through acres of land causing serious damage. The larger of the two blazes, now ranked as the third biggest on record in Colorado, has killed a woman, Linda Steadman, 62, whose remains were found in the ashes of a cabin where she lived alone on the edge of the Roosevelt National Forest, officials said on Monday. This fire has scorched more than 43,000 acres near the Wyoming border since it was ignited by lightning late Friday or early Saturday and makes Steadman the fourth fatality in a Colorado wildfire this year. Over 100 structures, including an undetermined number of homes, have been destroyed, and hundreds more dwellings, home to roughly 2,000 people, remain threatened by the blaze and are under evacuation orders, Larimer County officials said.
Far south of Colorado, firefighters also struggled to fight against a wildfire burning in Lincoln National Forest in central New Mexico where around 37,000 acres of mixed conifer have gone up in flames. Damage-assessment teams reaching the fire zone for the first time on Tuesday determined that 224 homes and 10 outbuildings had been destroyed. Also nine residential areas, which are home to up to 2,500 people, remain evacuated while the resort village of Ruidoso, a town of some 9,000 year-round residents, are still under threat, said Kerry Gladden, a Ruidoso information officer.
With the extreme amount of damage caused to homes leaving hundreds of families displaced and destitute, the Red Cross has responded by offering health and mental services at the various shelters set up near the affected areas. By donating your time or funds, you too can help these families in need!