SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Powerful Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday near Mexico Beach, Florida, pulverizing homes, snapping trees and leaving communities underwater.
At landfall, it was nearly a Category 5 storm that smashed records as the strongest ever to roar onto the state's exposed Panhandle.
Workers from the San Diego Red Cross have mobilized to help the victims of the storm. A crew of four were in the region before Michael came onshore, but more local crews are preparing to travel to the areas impacted by the hurricane.
Ron Clagett is a Red Cross volunteer. He has prepared his emergency response vehicle, which its purpose is to do mobile feeding, and is ready to head out at a moment’s notice. “It could be in an hour. It could be in a couple of days.”
Clagett has been a Red Cross volunteer for seven years. “I have already done my laundry. I have gotten my cat taken care of. I have gotten my prescriptions. Your whole life changes because when you get the word, it could be any time.”
San Diego’s Red Cross still has 14 volunteers on the ground aiding in Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
Emily Cox is the Red Cross regional communications director. “This is the second large scale disaster response we have done in the past month. The volunteers that are already on the ground are helping with shelters and feeding – making sure we have a safe place for people to stay. Also, making sure we are able to distribute food and hot meals to people who may be getting back into their homes.”
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has also sent a firefighter/paramedic to Florida to assist with Hurricane Michael efforts.
The San Diego-based International Relief teams have also mobilized to provide emergency assistance for the storm victims of Florida.
Michael made landfall as a 155-mph, Category 4 storm, making it the strongest October hurricane on record that hit the U.S. It was also the third-strongest hurricane on record in the U.S., when measured by barometric pressure.
Although weakening, Michael will continue to rampage through the Southeast on Thursday before racing offshore on Friday.
News 8's Richard Allyn reports from the Red Cross in Kearny Mesa with how they will be providing assistance in the relief effort