Long Islanders mobilize to help Florence victims

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Florence, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, unloaded torrential rain, flattened trees, splintered buildings and knocked out power to more than 500,000 homes and businesses Friday after slamming into the North Carolina coast.

Neela Lockel, of the Long Island Chapter of the Red Cross, arrived in the region Friday to help thousands who had to evacuate.

MORE: Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart 

“Over the last couple of days, the Red Cross has sheltered close to almost 7,000 people across 127 Red Cross and community-run shelters,” she told News 12 by phone.

In anticipation of widespread destruction in the Carolinas, Long Islanders are doing what they can to ease the burden. The Commack Fire Department started a relief supply drive. They are asking people to donate non-perishable items – such as water, diapers and toiletries. The firehouse, located at 6309 Jericho Turnpike in Commack, will be open 24/7 to collect items.

“Unfortunately, we're too well-versed in this. We've been fortunate here since Sandy, but…it could be us on that receiving end. So we just have to do what we can to help,” said Commissioner Pat Fazio.

PHOTOS: East Coast feels impacts of Hurricane Florence

The Town of Hempstead also kicked off a drive to collect relief supplies. Officials are asking homeowners paying taxes at the receiver’s office to bring donations.

It may be hundreds of miles away, but Hurricane Florence is being felt on Long Island’s shores.

The storm has churning up the waters off the South Shore – creating high swells and dangerous rip currents. Red flag warnings have been posted on beaches to warn people against entering the water.


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