Former Seacoast Resident Heads to Gulf as Red Cross Volunteer
Ten Red Cross volunteers from New Hampshire and Maine are among 600 from around the country headed to the Gulf Coast to help with relief efforts from Hurricane Ida.
Ida made landfall as a "dangerous category 4 hurricane" just before 1 p.m. EDT Sunday afternoon near Port Fourchon south of New Orleans, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.
Over 100,000 customers were without power in Louisiana as Ida moved inland, a number expected to grow, according to CNN.
Heading Into Danger
Four New Hampshire residents met up with six other volunteers from the American Red Cross of Northern New England offices in Hampton on Sunday morning. Former Amesbury and Merrimac resident Deanna MacEachern was headed to the Gulf Coast on Sunday afternoon with Jim Larson of Maine one of two disaster relief vans.
Why is she heading into a potentially dangerous situation by choice?
"We really do believe in the Red Cross mission. We like helping people. I think I get more out of it than I give sometimes. You come back it puts things in perspective. I haven't deployed out in a year due to COVID. This opportunity came up and I really felt it was time to help out again," MacEachern told Seacoast Current.
MacEachern is a veteran volunteer and has deployed to North Carolina, Alabama, Puerto Rico, Florida and Boston following a blizzard.
They are headed for Louisana and will get their assignment as they get closer.
"I believe we will be doing mobile feeding. These units are set up so we can go out into the communities and feed people," MacEachern said, adding that they likely will go to several different locations over two weeks.
"We usually cover quite a few miles. We could be going someplace different every day," MacEachern said.
The Red Cross and other organizations have opened dozens of evacuation shelters across Louisiana and Mississippi offering safe refuge for hundreds of people, Red Cross spokeswoman Jennifer Costa told Seacoast Current. Costa said the number of open shelters and people staying in them is changing hourly,"
In addition to pre-positioned supplies, the Red Cross has moved truckloads of additional cots, blankets and comfort kits, along with tens of thousands of ready-to-eat meals into Louisiana and Mississippi this weekend.
The day is already a sad anniversary for the region as it is also hitting the Gulf Coast on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, bringing stark reminders of one of the greatest natural disasters to ever strike the United States.
Where Does Ida Go After the Gulf?
Early projections of Ida's track show a much weakened storm tracking northwest through Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. The storm would then track across Northern New Jersey and Long Island which were affected by Tropical Storm Henri with heavy rain before heading out to sea over Cape Cod.
Ida's impact on the Seacoast depends on the track of the storm. A more northern track could bring heavy rain Wednesday night and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine.