PARKERSBURG- A Parkersburg woman is on her way to Florida today to help with the American Red Cross relief efforts following heavy rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Debby.
Susan Hughes will be flying out of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, making her way down to Tampa to be dispatched where Red Cross volunteers will be needed.
''I will be involved in sheltering,'' she said. ''We will be providing cots, blankets and pillows in a warm and dry place where they can stay while they get things situated.''
Up to a foot of rain has fallen in areas of northern Florida. Many areas are flooded.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Debby from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Tuesday night as it slogged across northern Florida toward the Atlantic coast. Debby's maximum sustained winds early Wednesday were near 35 mph.
But forecasters said a combination of storm surge and tide could bring flooding to coastal areas that have been drenched by the storm that sat virtually motionless in the Gulf of Mexico for several days.
Susan Hughes of Parkersburg will be heading to Florida today to help with the American Red Cross relief efforts in Florida following heavy rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Debby.
Hughes will be involved in sheltering efforts for people displaced by flooding.
Up to a foot of rain has fallen in some areas of northern Florida with many areas being flooded.
There was already major flooding at Black Creek, as well as other rivers in the Jacksonville region.
The hurricane center said early Wednesday that Debby was 25 miles southeast of St. Augustine, Fla., and moving east-northeast at about 10 mph. The storm was expected to head out to sea later in the day.
But many in Debby's path were still recovering from flooding that damaged homes, washed out roads, opened up sinkholes and closed a section of Interstate 10- the state's main east-west highway.
Hughes said this is a way for her to give back to people after the Red Cross helped her 14 years ago after being caught in a flash-flood at Marrtown Road in 1998. She was an in-state member at the time, but the experience prompted her to travel out into the country when disaster struck.
''They helped me,'' she said.
This will be the 58th disaster she responded to since 1998. Last year, she traveled to five locations impacted by Hurricane Irene. She also has been to trouble spots in New Jersey, North Dakota, Mississippi, North Carolina and other places.
With a lot of flooding reported in the northern part of Florida, Hughes said there were a number of places she could be sent. She will find out her assignment once she reaches the disaster headquarters.
''Once we get to headquarters, they will break us up and tell us where we need to go,'' Hughes said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.