Hurricane Irene is headed toward the East Coast and the American Red Cross is mobilizing disaster workers and equipment along much of the eastern seaboard to help those in the path of this powerful storm. In preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene and its anticipated flooding both along the coast and in South Central Pennsylvania, the American Red Cross serving South Central Pennsylvanian will be opening five shelters throughout the area at 8 pm on Saturday, August 27.

The shelters will be: Dauphin County

Lincoln Elementary School

1601 State Street

Harrisburg, Pa. 17103

Lancaster County

Bright Side Opportunities Center

515 Hershey Avenue

Lancaster, Pa. 17603

Cumberland County

Silver Spring Presbyterian Church

444 Silver Spring Road

Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055

Lebanon County

Northern Lebanon High School

345 School Drive

Fredericksburg, Pa. 17026

York County

York County Technical School

2179 South Queen Street

York, Pa. 17402

The shelters will be for local residents who have been experienced flooding or storm damage and for anyone who lives in areas affected by the storm. ID should be presented on arrival at a shelter showing that you are from an affected area. The shelters will remain opened as long as needed. If conditions change, the Red Cross will adjust shelter times as needed. Shelters will provide food, a safe place to sleep and support for those weathering the storm. Those coming to a shelter should bring their personal medications and medical supplies with them. It is also recommended that people bring blankets, pillows, extra clothing, personal hygiene items, any infant/child items and important documents. A complete list of open Red Cross Shelters is posted on www.redcross.org. Click on National Shelter System: Find a Shelter.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years, and could threaten several big population centers. A hurricane watch has been issued for the North Carolina coast and the Red Cross has opened shelters in the state as evacuation orders go into effect. In addition, more than 200 Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are heading towards the coast to help people in the path of the storm.

Help people affected by disasters by donating to the American Red Cross. A financial gift supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross in the community, across the country and around the world. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions may be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 4624, Lancaster, PA 17604. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org or www.sqvalleyredcross.org. The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from caring individuals and, in part, by contributions given through the United Way.