TAMPA (FOX 13) - Millions of east coast residents have boarded up their homes and fled to higher ground as Hurricane Florence threatens several states with storm surge, heavy winds, and dozens of inches of rain.
As evacuees stream into other states, including Florida, some folks from the Bay Area are heading toward the storm, preparing to provide relief from the storm's aftermath.
Residents from the Carolinas and Virginia filled rest stops near Tampa Wednesday.
Vehicles were packed with people's most precious items, plus a week or more worth of necessities for their time waiting out the storm.
Meanwhile, first responders, linemen, and tree trimmers from Pasco, Polk, and Hillsborough counties packed up their gear and began their treks north, where they will wait for the storm to do it's worst before they get busy doing their best to clean up the mess.
"Everybody needs help," said Beesan "Moose" Mustafa of Pasco Fire Rescue. "From senior citizens to young children to pets and animals, everybody needs help and we're going to be there for them."
From search and rescue to emergency management, Bay Area agencies know what it's like to deal with hurricanes and they want to share their skills and experience when Florence makes impact.
Tampa-based tree trimmer Jonathan Valentine stays busy this time of year, but he said he's not too busy to help clear debris so residents can get back to their lives as soon as possible.
"Like last year in Irma, we had people from all over the country coming down and helping out cause there's no way that just us local guys can keep up," Valentine said. "It's going to be the same thing up there."