Valley residents responding to Hurricane Florence

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Valley residents responding to Hurricane Florence
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Valley residents are heading to the toward the Carolina coast to help with the response to Hurricane Florence.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Hurricane Florence moves closer toward the Carolina coast, residents are bracing for its impact.

More than 2,000 miles away, seven valley residents from Fresno and Bakersfield are flying to be their boots on the ground.

American Red Cross Executive director for Central Valley and Kern County chapters Barry Falke says his volunteers left Wednesday morning, to conduct Shelter and feeding activities in North Carolina.

"I am always so incredibly proud of and in awe of our volunteers who, while people are running away from disaster, are willing to run into the face of disaster. They will be there as affected residents come to the shelter to create the right experience for them and to ensure their needs are being met."

The National Weather Service says more than 10 million residents in three states are under a storm watch or warning because of Hurricane Florence.

Falke says more than 1,500 Red Cross relief workers, 80 emergency response trailers and 120 trailers of equipment have been deployed to the East Coast region most impacted.

"Last night there were 1,600 people staying in Red Cross shelters across the Carolinas."

The areas power company, Duke Energy says damage from Hurricane Florence could cut off electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and those outages could last for weeks. The company says it's already shifting thousands of power workers from its Midwest and Florida regions and getting added workers from as far away as Texas.

Valley PG&E crews say they're ready to support restoration efforts if called on.

It's not just monetary donations that can help, the Red Cross is asking for blood donations as well. They say they're anticipating thousands of donations and drives to be canceled as Florence moves across the Southeast.