Storm chaser & Michigan Blood talk potential impact of Hurricane Florence

Posted at 10:24 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 06:40:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- As Hurricane Florence moves closer to the Carolina Coast, it's bringing the threat of rain and storm surge with it. As of late Thursday night, Florence had been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.

A storm chaser from West Michigan is in Jacksonville, North Carolina to experience the storm and update people on the damage.

Kevin Barton has been chasing storms for nearly a decade and says the damage from water could be very serious.

“That water is relentless and you could get six to nine feet on some of those barrier islands. And even the homes on stilts it’s enough to inundate and flood the entire first floor. So it’s going to cause a lot of damage if the storm surge comes up to what they predicted,” says storm chaser Kevin Barton.

Barton says the Barrier Islands are really going to get pummeled with a vicious storm surge and the fact a monster storm is so near to where he is, is a little nerve racking.

“It’s a little bit eerie knowing there’s a giant hurricane sitting just offshore and it’s churning up just incredible surf," said Barton. "I was witnessing 10 to 12-foot waves during high tide."

As the storm approaches, Michigan Blood in Grand Rapids says it's ready in case Florence causes a blood shortage in its path.

“With respect to the hurricane and the potential damage it could cause and disruption, yes they could have a disruption in their collection activity in those three states,” says the president of Michigan Blood, Jim Wilson.

Wilson says Blood Centers of America will make the call on how much blood is needed and where to send it.
“That organization will coordinate our responses to the need in the South East part of the country,” says Wilson.

As everyone waits to see what damage Florence does to the East coast, you can help Michigan Blood stock up by donating at one of their centers or mobile units.  The organization can be reached at 1-866-MIBLOOD.