The second major hurricane of 2018 has hit the southeastern U.S., and the American Red Cross is preparing to send volunteers to help. Millions of people are in the path of Hurricane Michael, while thousands in the Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

A number of Alaska volunteers remain in North Carolina supporting recovery efforts of Hurricane Florence. As of Wednesday,a total of 9 additional Red Cross of Alaska volunteers have been sent to aid in Hurricane Michael relief efforts, with more on the way once it is safe to travel to the affected areas.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Gulf Coast Wednesday with extreme winds and heavy rainfall. According to CBS News, the Category 4 storm packed sustained winds of 155 mph. Flooding and a storm surge as high as 12 feet are forecasted for parts of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Prolonged power outages are expected.

“We urge people to take this dangerous hurricane very seriously and make their final storm preparations now,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics for the Red Cross in an Oct. 10 release. “The Red Cross is working closely with state and local authorities in Florida, Alabama and Georgia to support evacuation centers for as many as 30,000 people who may need a safe place to stay during the storm.”

Alaska Red Cross volunteer Terri Dennett received the call at 4 p.m. Monday. She's expected to leave Tuesday night, since volunteers headed to a disaster zone are typically on their way within a day. 

Her first stop is Dothan, Alabama, then 100 miles inland northwest to Montgomery. 

"I feel like I'm ready to go and that I'm going to be able to do what I need to do once I get there," she said.

Dennett, a first-timer, will be part of a shelter team. She's received training and even run through dress rehearsals covering everything from people who come through the door to assisting children separated from their parents. 

But it's the human approach which will make the difference. 

"Trying give the people a soft place to land," she said Tuesday afternoon, before heading off to pick up a few last-minute items for the trip ahead. "That's one of our mandates, compassion and impartiality so yeah, just be there and help where I can."

For more information on how you can help, visit the American Red Cross of Alaska website.

Dave Goldman contributed information to this story.

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