TENNESSEE, USA — The East Tennessee chapter of the Red Cross is preparing to face Hurricane Dorian — a storm approaching Florida with potentially Category 4 winds.
As of Monday morning, Red Cross deployed 48 volunteers from the Tennessee Region to respond to the relief and disaster preparedness.
More than a dozen volunteers deployed Friday at 10 a.m. to assist the Red Cross with shelters and emergency operations in Georgia and Florida. More volunteers will deploy as the storm develops.
"They will be assisting with setting up shelters, working as disaster mental health associates, managing disaster operations, and working in public affairs for the Red Cross. More volunteers are expected to deploy as this situation develops," Red Cross spokesperson Sherri McKinney said in a release Friday.
The Knoxville chapter's Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and two additional Red Cross volunteers trained in ERV operation are on standby. Six additional disaster response volunteers are also on standby and can deploy next week if needed, Red Cross Business Operations Specialist Gretchen Sherrill said Thursday.
Thursday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to hit the United States mainland between the Georgia Keys and southern Georgia on Sunday or Monday of next week.
It is impossible to predict exactly when the strongest winds will hit, but forecasters warn tropical storm force winds could arrive to the Southeast coast as early as Saturday evening.
In East Tennessee, the remnants of the hurricane could affect next week's weather forecast. Spotty thunderstorms might affect the region on Labor Day Monday, and Tuesday might be cloudy with a chance of rain.
While East Tennessee is too far inland to experience most tropical storm force winds, past hurricanes have made their way to the Smoky Mountains.
RELATED: Hurricane history of East Tennessee
To help the Red Cross' local relief efforts, you can donate or volunteer. Red Cross volunteers perform a wide range of duties, including disaster relief, community relations, CPR training, and social media advocacy.