The rain has already begun as the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Irene to make landfall on Saturday. The storm is expected to have a very large path of destruction spanning from the Carolinas to as far north as Massachusetts. AP News has reported that 2 Million people have been told to evacuate.

Hurricane warnings were issued from North Carolina to New York, and watches were posted farther north, on the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard off Massachusetts. Evacuation orders covered at least 2.3 million people, including 1 million in New Jersey, 315,000 in Maryland, 300,000 in North Carolina, 200,000 in Virginia and 100,000 in Delaware.

For the first time ever New York City mass transit will be shutting down due to a natural disaster.

...the city said it would shut down the subways and buses at noon Saturday, only a few hours after the first rain is expected to fall.

With the major threat to so many people, the American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood now, in preparation for the devastation that this storm is expected to cause. Individuals interested in making a blood donation must be healthy, age 17 or older, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Also donations may be made every 56 days. If you are interested in donating, here are a few things to keep in mind from RedCrossBlood.Org

Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron rich foods, such as spinach, red meat, fish, poultry, beans, iron-fortified cereals and raisins.

  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Drink an extra 16 oz. of water and fluids before the donation.
  • Eat a healthy meal before your donation. Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fats that appear in your blood for several hours after eating fatty foods.
  • If you are a platelet donor, remember that your system must be free of aspirin for two days prior to donation.
  • Remember to bring your donor card, driver's license or two other forms of ID.
  • Donations are being collected locally at the following locations.

    • American Red Cross Donor Center

    Aug 28, 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    2546 Locust Creek Dr

    Evansville, IN

    • Christian Fellowship Church

    Aug 28, 7:15 AM - 12:15 PM

    4100 Millersburg Rd

    Evansville, IN

     You can schedule an appointment for donation online.