American Red Cross

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, dozens of individuals have been lining up locally to become American Red Cross volunteers. For some, it’s a first time experience, while others are refreshing their training.

Still others are already in the trenches, and loving every minute of it.

Meet the Hinds.

“My name is Kaffey,” said Kaffey Hinds, introducing herself.  “It’s K-a-f-f-e-y. And, this is my husband Lee.”

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall sometime on Friday, somewhere between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, with its 140 mile an hour winds.

About two million people have been warned to flee inland to escape the most powerful storm to threaten the U.S. Atlantic coast in over a decade. Florida. Gov. Rick Scott has a message for those living in evacuation zones.

“There are no excuses, you need to leave,” said the Governor. “Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

Hurricane Matthew has strengthened once again to a Category-4 storm as it barrels toward Florida’s heavily populated east coast. Help is on the way from a number of areas, including northwest Florida.


The American Red Cross has sent a legion of volunteers and vehicles to flooded Louisiana, for what the organization calls the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since 2012’s SuperStorm Sandy.  

“All across south Louisiana, and it has presented tremendous challenges to everyone. But I’m very proud of the effort that we’re making,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards after a helicopter tour of the hardest-hit areas. 

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

At least 13 tornadoes tore through the Deep South Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. One ripped through Pensacola, with some residents today beginning to pick up the pieces.

The numbers are staggering – some homes along Scenic Road were razed, as the twister touched down and ripped a path through along Interstate-10.

“Our preliminary estimates are that the [tornado’s] track was a path of two miles, from Northpointe Boulevard to Scenic Highway,” said Escambia County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka.

Photo courtesy of

Helping hands are busy in Century, for residents impacted by Monday’s EF-3 tornado.

A steady stream of people have been coming into the Century Community Center to register with the American Red Cross. Among them is Doug Lewis; he and his wife Shirley lost their wood frame house where they’ve lived for 44 years.

“And I saw it coming, and I hollered, said ‘Get in the hallway’ and that’s where we stood,” said Lewis. “And from the time I left the dining room window until we got into the hallway it seemed like only five minutes – then it was all over.”

Photo courtesy of

With a little help from their friends, Century residents hit by Monday’s severe storm are beginning to pick up the pieces. An investigation is also underway.

Up to 50 homes and businesses were either damaged or outright destroyed by the winds, which is believed to have been a tornado that touched down in a wooded neighborhood near U.S. 29.

Dosh says commercial and not-for-profit organizations are out working to complete damage assessments, as are the county, Town of Century and various agencies.

Choctaw Gym Serves as Shelter in FWB

May 1, 2014
Danielle Freeman

With some parts of the county receiving close to 13 inches of rain, several shelters were opened in the area, one in Crestview and another at Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton Beach.

The American Red Cross was on hand at the Choctaw gymnasium to provide care for the six Fort Walton Beach families displaced by the storm. Cots and blankets were set up, a food and drink table was nearby, and there was even a basketball available for shooting hoops.

That large, slow-moving storm system that’s been pummeling the Midwest and Southeast is making its presence felt along the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama.

At least 31 deaths are blamed on the system, including three in Alabama. And Don Shepherd at the National Weather Service in Mobile says the areas that were hit Monday night, likely will get more of the same today.