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West Michigan Red Cross sending volunteers to Gulf Coast

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The American Red Cross is calling on 900 volunteers from across the country as Hurricane Harvey threatens the Gulf Coast. Some of those volunteers were from right here in West Michigan, and some have already headed south.

These teams will help operate shelters, assess damage and provide recovery assistance for at least 14 days.

Happy to help, Tony VanDyke has been to at least  three dozen disasters in his six years with the Red Cross. He says the work during Hurricane Harvey will be similar to many of his other trips except for one thing.:He will have a new mapping software that he's using for the very first time. This mapping software will help categorize where and how much recovery is needed after the storm.

Tony is just one of many  expected to head to the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross in Grand Rapids has already sent three volunteers and plans to send more this weekend along with an emergency response vehicle.

Crews will be assisting folks well after Hurricane Harvey makes landfall as the storm is expected to bring rainfall totals anywhere from 2- 3 feet in Texas and Louisiana. The American Red Cross already expects this storm to be costly.

This storm could also affect gas prices across the country. Gas Buddy analysts say prices at the pump could increase next week, but it depends on the damage, especially in Houston.

The American Red Cross has their disaster plans in action and everyone will wait and see just how bad Hurricane Harvey gets.

Every helping hand and every donation dollar counts to the American Red Cross. If you would like to help or donate any way you can please go to Red Cross for more information.

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