Michele Spring Reporting:

(Friday, September 14, 2018) Tuscarawas County, Ohio – More than 2 ½ million people along the east coast face Hurricane Florence as she made landfall today.

The storm surge is expected to be as high as 13 feet, and 40 inches of rain could fall in some areas, possibly causing catastrophic flash flooding. The American Red Cross says more than 6,700 people spent the night Wednesday in 127 Red Cross and community shelters across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter Executive Director Kim Kroh said more than 1,500 Red Cross disaster workers, including 16 volunteers from Northeast Ohio, are on the ground to help.

“We prepare, respond, and recover. That’s why we already have about 15,000 workers down there helping folks with the evacuation process and then sheltering them. And then, of course, we will remain there once the hurricane hits and then that’s when they will deploy a lot more.”

Kroh explained how volunteers will be serving meals, helping with supplies, and assisting with medical treatment.

“We go into the trenches of where everything has occurred. We have our emergency response vehicles, which dozens have already headed down that way and those emergency response vehicles is how we get through the neighborhood to deliver food, cleanup kits, and things of that sort.”

The Red Cross was forced to cancel more than 120 blood drives resulting in more than 3,800 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Kroh said additional blood drives are expected to be canceled over the coming days.

“If you’re able to give blood, please do so. Every two seconds someone in America needs blood. There have been blood drives that have been canceled as a result of the hurricane which means blood supplies have immediately dropped just because of all of those blood drives that have been canceled.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or donating blood should call 1-800 RED CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org. If you would like to donate to the victims of Hurricane Florence, text “FLORENCE” to 90999 for a $10 donation.

(Photo from the National Weather Service showing Hurricane Florence at noon)

Copyright WTUZ Radio Inc., 2018