Local volunteers head to Florida to aid in Hurricane Ian relief
Hurricane Ian is battering Florida with catastrophic storm surges, winds and flooding,
New Yorkers are springing into action to help provide aid.
New York is sending a pair of heavy lift helicopters and 11 Army National Guard members to provide airlift support.
Roughly a dozen people from Westchester, Rockland, West Point and Greenwich, Connecticut are among the 900 Red Cross volunteers in Florida right now.
A total of 13,000 people spent Tuesday night in one of their shelters.
Disaster response workers continue to support housing and general relief efforts.
The number of volunteers is expected to double over the coming days once the worst of the storm passes through.
It's been a tough day already for former Westchester residents now living in southwest Florida like Gina Valentino who was the former editor of Westchester Home.
The power went out while Valentine was being interviewed. It has been hours since News 12 has heard from her.
The last thing Valentino told News 12 was that she was safe and hunkered down in her home, with limited power or cell service.
"This was not as expected to have gotten as bad as is it. We just didn't know what to expect," she said.
Flooding where she lives between Naples and Fort Myers remains a real concern.
The local Red Cross chapter says this could be a long deployment for a lot of volunteers with recovery efforts potentially stretching into the end of the year.
Red Cross officials say they desperately need blood donations. The Red Cross has sent hundreds of Type O blood products to Florida to help with lifesaving efforts but there's still a critical shortage.