Hurricane Florence is the kind of storm that people need to pay attention to. The words being used to describe it include: Catastrophic. Total destruction. Life threatening. Everyone within the projected path of Florence needs to take this hurricane VERY seriously.

In just 36 hours, its wind speeds doubled from 70 to 140 miles per hour. Forecasters are predicting the storm's intensity to increase even more before likely making landfall along the North Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday. It's expected to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. But by the time Florence comes ashore, it could be even worse than that Category 5 storm. Attached is a satellite image of what the hurricane might look like when it makes landfall.

By Thursday morning, the North Carolina coast could begin feeling the effects of tropical-storm-force winds. Wherever the eye of Florence comes over, there will be widespread destruction. A Category 4 storm equates to an EF2 tornado in terms of wind velocity. Now imagine a tornado of that magnitude, thirty miles wide, sitting in the same spot from Thursday until Saturday, dumping more than a foot of rain.

Last year, Hurricane Harvey "stalled" over the Texas Gulf Coast for 18 hours until it moved to Houston as a Category 1 storm. That rainy aftermath is what created such devastating flooding there. If Florence stalls until Saturday evening — with powerful winds and heavy rains lasting for 48 or even 72 hours — this hurricane would be unprecedented.

+ + Help Mercy Chefs Provide Relief In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Florence!

With our headquarters in Portsmouth, Virginia, under mandatory evacuation orders, we're currently taking action to ensure our employees and their families are safe and in a position to provide relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Mercy Chefs also is preparing assets and moving equipment outside of harm's way and into strategic locations to provide an immediate response to the areas of greatest need.

We're mobilizing for an imminent, multi-site emergency deployment. But the costs associated with moving two kitchens, transporting staff and re-stocking critical supplies is significant. Our first grocery bill might be as much as $20,000, which means our pre-deployment costs for Hurricane Florence could total between $30,000 and $50,000.

I urgently need your support for Mercy Chefs to "hit the ground running" in the next 24 to 48 hours. Can I count on you to help us deploy teams to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence? Click here or on the banner below to make your best tax-deductible gift right now to help Mercy Chefs begin serving emergency meals at the heart of disaster as soon as possible:

Mercy Chefs was born out of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, and we have gained invaluable experience in the 12 years since working major disasters, such as the Moore and Joplin tornadoes, as well as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria last year. We are as prepared as we can be for Florence. This is as serious as we have taken ANY storm. I always hesitate to overstate how bad a storm can be, but I don't see a clear way that this won't be the worst weather event we've ever faced.

We encourage everybody to have their evacuation plan in place and to follow the guidelines for storm preparedness. Please listen to your local emergency managers and heed the warning to evacuate should it come. This is truly a life-threatening situation. The possibility of the storm "stalling out" and lingering long enough to drop more than two feet of rain is just frightening. Moving out of harm's way is critical.

Again, we are mobilizing our mobile kitchens and other assets to areas where they'll do the most good. Please help us prepare to "feed body and soul" in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Click here to make a 100-percent, tax-deductible donation now. And thank you, in advance, for your generous support.


Gary LeBlanc
Founder, Mercy Chefs

P.S. If you can, please support our pre-deployment efforts with your best tax-deductible gift of any amount. Also, I encourage you to join us in praying for the safety of everyone living in the impact zone of this dangerous storm. Go here to help now: