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Posted: October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael: How to help

Amanda Logsdon begins the process of trying to clean up her home after the roof was blown off by the passing winds of Hurricane Michael. There are a number of ways to help hurricane victims.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty Images
Amanda Logsdon begins the process of trying to clean up her home after the roof was blown off by the passing winds of Hurricane Michael. There are a number of ways to help hurricane victims.

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida as a Category 4, nearly Category 5 storm, leaving 750,000 people without power and at least two people dead.

The storm, with winds up to 155 mph, left behind a large path of destruction, bringing flash floods, downing trees and power lines, and wrecking homes and businesses.

>> Read more trending news 

Early Thursday, Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm. Recovery efforts have begun. Those who were in the path of the hurricane or had to evacuate can let loved ones know they are safe on Facebook’s Safety Check or the American Red Cross Safe and Well page. Family and friends can also use these sites to check on affected loved ones.

Here is how the public can help the victims of hurricane Michael.

Give blood

Following Hurricane Florence in August, the American Red Cross reported a critical need for blood and blood platelet donations. Matthew led to the cancellation of dozens of drives in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Red Cross drives can be located on the American Red Cross Blood Services website.

LifeSouth, a community blood center in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, is also holding blood drives, including mobile ones. They can be located on the LifeSouth website

Donate money

Habitat for humanity is assisting with long-term recovery efforts. “Donations will be used to respond to families affected by Hurricane Michael until Habitat for Humanity's role in meeting the need is met, at which time funds will be used for Habitat's disaster response efforts where most needed,” the organization said. Donations can be made at the Habitat for Humanity website.

Related: Hurricane Michael live updates: 750,000 without power, 2 killed as Tropical Storm Michael weakens

Fundraising site GoFundMe created a general relief fund with a $50,000 goal to directly help storm victims.

“Funds raised on this campaign will be managed by The Direct Impact Fund, an independent, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization” GoFundMe said. “The Direct Impact Fund collects and distributes funds to verified GoFundMe campaigns and aid organizations created to help those affected.”

Related: Photos: Hurricane Michael leaves behind path of destruction

The American Red Cross is also taking donations

People can also donate to the Florida Disaster Fund, which is the state of Florida’s official private fund to help communities recover from disasters and emergencies.

The International Medical Corps has sent teams of doctors to affected areas to help at medical facilities and shelters. They accept donations to help provide medical care and pay for medical supplies.

Volunteer time

VolunteerFlorida is recruiting volunteers to register and help disaster response organizations in the state. Once registered, organizations like the Salvation Army or American Red Cross will reach out to qualified volunteers depending on need.


Hurricane Michael: Waffle House in Panama City closes ahead of storm

If the forecasts from meteorologists weren’t enough indication of the possible severity of Hurricane Michael in the Panhandle, this alternative tracking method might -- the Waffle House in Panama City is closed

>> Read more trending news 

With more than 1,500 restaurant locations across the Southeast that are typically open 24 hours every day of the year, a closure is a big deal, so much so that emergency officials informally determine how bad a storm is based on the Waffle House Index. 

“If a Waffle House store is open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If it is open but serving from a limited menu, it’s yellow. When the location has been forced to close, the index is red. Because Waffle House is well-prepared for disasters… it’s rare for the index to hit red,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Panama City location is expected to reopen after Hurricane Michael passes.

The Category 4 storm has 140 mph sustained winds and is expected to make landfall Wednesday afternoon.

  12 things you didn't know about Waffle House
  Hurricane Florence: Waffle House Index prepared for storm
  Hurricane Michael: Scenes from Florida as the storm approaches
  Hurricane Michael: What damage can a Category 4 hurricane do?
  Hurricane Michael: What kind of damage will a Category 5 hurricane do?

Dozens of baby sea turtles wash ashore at Florida-area beaches

Dozens of people walking along beaches in Jacksonville, Florida, have come across baby sea turtles. 

>> Read more trending news

Researchers said strong strong winds and tides in the ocean have brought close to 60 sea turtles back to shore between Amelia Island and St. Johns County.

“We get calls from these people who say, ‘What should I do? What should I do?’” Eleanor Maxwell said.

Maxwell, a Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol member, brought two turtles to the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience on Friday.

Known as washbacks, the babies are washing ashore on Sargasso seaweed pushed inland by strong storms, including hurricanes Florence and Michael.

When sea turtles hatch, they rely on energy stores from a yolk sack to make the multimile swim to floating masses of seaweed offshore.

If storms or currents push them to shore, the turtles are too weak to swim back out into ocean.

“They’re going to be picked up by a pelican or they’re going to get into the water and they’re just going to die. They don’t have a chance once they get to this beach,” Maxwell said.

If the babies are rescued, they’re brought to a sea turtle hospital, such as the Whitney Lab at the University of Florida in St. Augustine.

They’re cared for until they’re strong enough to be brought back out to the ocean by boat.

Researchers are asking people to keep an eye out for the post-hatchlings after the recent storms.If you find a baby sea turtle, call your sea turtle patrol group or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The FWC has a 24-hour sea turtle hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). 

Photos: Mexico Beach decimated by Hurricane Michael

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photos: Mexico Beach decimated by Hurricane Michael

Not much is left in the Florida area called Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael battered the region.


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