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Arizona volunteers deployed to Florida to help with Hurricane Michael

Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed, as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PHOENIX — Multiple volunteers from Arizona were sent to Florida this week to help residents prepare for and recover from the potentially devastating Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Wednesday with winds as high as 155 mph.

Cassidy Penney, a spokeswoman with the American Red Cross, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that six people from Phoenix and Tucson were sent to Florida on Tuesday to help with the storm.

Penney said they are not the only help the organization has in the area: There are also 114 people deployed to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia who could be relocated to Florida, depending on the damage.

The volunteers will help provide shelter, meals, cots and blankets to those who were evacuated from their homes. They will also help clean up the damage once the storm moves through.

Health care workers, including mental health professionals and nurses, were also deployed to Florida to help those with emotional and physical needs.

“The Red Cross will be there as long as we’re needed,” Penney said.

Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle as the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in nearly 50 years, when Camille hit in 1969.

Michael blew ashore near Mexico Beach, a tourist town about midway along the Panhandle, a lightly populated, 200-mile stretch of white-sand beach resorts, fishing towns and military bases.

Its winds roaring, it battered the coastline with sideways-blown rain, powerful gusts and crashing waves.

It swamped streets, bent trees, stripped away limbs and leaves, knocked out power, shredded awnings and sent other building debris flying.

Explosions apparently caused by blown transformers could be heard.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were urged to evacuate.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kathy Cline and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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