Valley Red Cross volunteers ready to mobilize with Hurricane Irma looming off Florida coast

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Red Cross volunteers are making their way to Florida where they'll shelter in place during the storm before heading out to help. Florida's top crop is also in danger because of Irma. (KFSN)

The Valley contingent set to offer assistance to Florida is starting to arrive in preparation of Irma.

Red Cross volunteers are making their way to Florida where they'll shelter in place during the storm before heading out to help.

Florida's top crop is also in danger because of Irma.

Hurricane Irma is barreling towards Florida. The storm is expected to cause catastrophic damage. Volunteers from the Central Valley chapter of the Red Cross are driving emergency relief vehicles to Florida.

"We sent about four to five ERV drivers from different parts of the country right now from Fresno, Bakersfield, and Ventura," Barry Falke with the Red Cross said.

Falke has arrived in Orlando, and he'll be coordinating information with elected officials in the impacted counties.

"We've got shelters, like I said, most particularly in southern Florida that are ready to go," he said. "We're ready to shelter 120,000 people here in Florida."

Florida is the country's top citrus producer, but the storm could wipe out the Valencia Orange harvest which is just a few weeks away.

"They could potentially see some additional crop loss, significant crop loss that is in the direct path," Bob Blakely with the California Citrus Mutual.

Blakely used to live on the Florida gulf coast. He's seen hurricanes strip entire orchards.

"You just see these huge trees that are laying over at 45-degree angles," he said. "The wind can just bend them over."

Blakely says orange juice prices have already started to spike because of the storms. Falke also noticed a lot of international travelers who did not take note of Hurricane Irma have been flying into Orlando to visit Disney World only to be told of the incoming storm.

Related Topics:
hurricane irmafresnored crossFresno
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