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Local Red Cross prepping to send volunteers, supplies to areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Posted at 8:15 PM, Aug 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-26 18:46:35-04

Right now, Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Millions are in the path of the storm, with devastating flooding the biggest concern.

South Florida is no stranger to hurricanes and that's why our local American Red Cross is stepping up to help.

Mary Armhurst of the Martin County Red Cross office in Stuart is gearing up to give back.

"I'm like a horse waiting for a race," she told WPTV on Friday. "My adrenaline starts flowing."

The Red Cross organization is taking the storm very seriously. Hurricane Harvey will be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005.

Red Cross chapters across Florida and the Southeast are gearing up to send supplies like water and food, and more importantly, volunteers like Armhurst who are more than ready to answer the call.

"This, they're saying is going to be really really horrible... Even worse than what we've seen so far," said Armhurst, who is one of four people in the entire country that makes up the Red Cross' National Logistics Advanced Team.

If and when she's deployed, she will be working to coordinate and set up shelters across impacted zones and will be in charge of directing resources to those areas.

"We're like a family," she said of the volunteers. "It's like a family reunion when we go to a disaster, we're used to working together."

Well before Harvey's landfall, the red cross has already positioned trailers and supplies in the affected areas.

"In just a matter of 24 hours, the storm has strengthened and intensified. So our volunteers are doing what they do best, which is on stand by to respond whenever there's a disaster," said Robin Nunley, executive director of the Red Cross for Palm Beach and Martin counties.

Armhurst said they'll be deploying emergency response vehicles, or ERVs, with supplies like water, food and medical kits.

"People will donate water by the truck loads. That's always one thing we have a lot of," she said.

Some local volunteers have already left for Louisiana, where heavy rain and flooding is expected. But many more are staying behind until after the threat of local flooding passes in South Florida this weekend.

"It's unusual that we would have two systems approaching simultaneously, and of course in South Florida and some of the Treasure Coast areas. We're anticipating 6 to 8 inches of rain," said Nunley.

Hurricane Harvey also just happens to arrive on the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in August 1992.

"It's definitely not an anniversary we want to celebrate and it's an odd way to mark it. But yes, here we are in the middle of hurricane season," said Nunley.

Some areas of Texas could see up to 30 inches of rain. Armhurst told me she's ready for anything.

"When I go to Texas, I'm going to take lots of rain gear," she said. "Hopefully the people that have been told to evacuate will evacuate because they're saying there's supposed to be washed of 6 to 12 foot of flooding. So I'm hoping that they'll heed the advice."

Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall around Corpus Christi late Friday or early Saturday morning as a Category 3 hurricane.

The red cross says they've already spent a lot of money on prepping before the storm has even arrived so they're always looking for monetary donations. You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The local Salvation Army chapter is also on stand by with 139 volunteers, ready to deploy to Texas and Louisiana. Click here to learn more.