BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland-based volunteers from the American Red Cross are being dispatched to the south to help with the response when Hurricane Dorian hits.

At the Red Cross office in northwest Baltimore, officials are keeping a close eye on the hurricane’s path as volunteers wait to see when and where Dorian could make landfall.

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Even though the storm has yet to hit the U.S., two volunteers are on the way to Atlanta to help with sheltering those who might be displaced.

“It does take on greater significance and focuses our attention,” said Richard McIntire with the Red Cross.

Dorian is the strongest storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, which has caught the attention of volunteers like Rosemarie O’Brien.

“It is very humbling. I would hope that if I’m in the same situation that, you know, I would get the same kind of assistance,” she said.

O’Brien, a retired teacher and one of the two Atlanta-bound volunteers, is on her fourth volunteer mission this year.

Volunteers will help set up shelters, work on information technology and distribute supplies to those in need.

“It’s very important that people are prepared, but not scared, and we have volunteers out there willing to help them,” she said.

The local Red Cross chapter sent out 200 volunteers last year alone, including last November to the California wildfires.

The two volunteers who left Monday follow a caravan of 85 members of Maryland Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue, which left Friday for Florida.

Dorian’s strength is a reminder for those in its path to be on guard.

“A storm that’s already a Cat 4, Cat 5 before it makes landfall is just kind of mind-blowing and kind of sets you up for, ‘This is going to be something that is severe and significant and we have to be ready,'” McIntire said.

Paul Gessler

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