(WJHL) — As Floridians brace for Hurricane Ian, now a Category 4 storm, two Washington County, Tennessee, residents traveled to Tampa to assist with evacuation efforts.
American Red Cross volunteers Theresa Nelson and Thomas Fortney plan to stay for the next two weeks. They are currently helping to support an evacuation shelter in Tampa.
The efforts mark the first deployment for Nelson; Fortney, on the other hand, has been deployed to respond to assist communities in disasters several times.
“[We are bringing down] mostly clothing, flashlights, anything else we might need when and if the power goes out,” Fortney said. “We may not have air conditioner or power here in the high school for probably a couple of days.”
Though Nelson and Fortney plan to stay in Florida for the next two weeks, the team is prepared to stay longer if they’re needed.
Forecasters describe Hurricane Ian as a catastrophic storm system with winds reaching 155 mph — just 2mph shy of a Category 5 storm. It is expected to hit Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday.