Local Volunteers Head Down State to Help with Hurricane Relief

August 28, 2011 Updated Aug 28, 2011 at 6:50 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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August 28, 2011 Updated Aug 28, 2011 at 6:50 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross deployed a number of volunteers Sunday morning, sending them downstate to help with aftermath of Irene.

"Our volunteer are amazing," said Jay Bonafede, Communications Director for the Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"As soon as they know somethings coming, they get on and they will update their availability and they will go at a moments notice if called on."

Despite Irene's weakening to a Tropical Storm Sunday, the heavy rains and high winds still pose a risk to those along the east coast.

"A lot of areas are pretty soaked now because of a lot of rain, which means a lot of trees can come down, a lot of power outages," said Janet Bartee, a volunteer from Kenmore making the downstate trip.

One of the biggest reasons Irene's impact was not as severe as predicted is because many had time to prepare.

ABC Hardware co-owner Mark Slater said he got customers who drove up from New Jersey and Connecticut to buy a generator or a chainsaw.

He also said that this mad dash for supplies should serve as a reminder for us here in western New York, as we prepare to take some weather of our own.

"It still might be very warm and summer-like outside but you know we're going to be in that same situation in the next couple of months...people need to look ahead, plan for our Buffalo winter."