Crews prepare to return to the storm zone

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Crews from our area are already planning their trip down to the storm zone.

Forecasters say it's likely that Hurricane Michael will make landfall as a Category 3 storm.

That would make it the most powerful Hurricane to hit the Florida panhandle in 13 years.

So now, just 10 days after returning from the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence, Pennsylvania Task Force 1, based in Philadelphia, was re-activated about an hour ago.

After all, Task Force 1 Lt. Ken Pagurek says this is what they do.

"We're deployed for 19 days following Florence after which we are re-constituting all the supplies we expended while we were away. We are replenishing everything, but we are ready to go," he said.

Michael is already packing winds topping 100 MPH and is expected to result in a potentially life-threatening 12-foot storm surge.

Task Force 1's mission will revolve around water rescues and recovery.

Lt. Pagurek says they understand the importance of being level-headed and professional, but there's always a personal aspect to their missions.

"Being able to assist someone in a time of need perhaps thousands of miles away from Philadelphia is extremely rewarding and bringing closure to folks sometimes in the recovery of a victim can be equally rewarding as well," said Lt. Pagurek.

The same holds true for the American Red Cross chapter in Philadelphia.

While the local Red Cross already has people on the ground in Florida, volunteers back here at home are already mobilizing to help once the storm blows through.

Regional CEO-American Red Cross Guy Triano said, "When storms like this come and they raise their hands and want to go down there ahead of the storm, during the storm, and certainly after the storm we'll be there and that's why they do. They touch the mission, and feel it, and live it."

The governors of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have already declared a state of emergency.

Task Force 1 is expected to deploy at 9 tonight.

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