DENVER — As Hurricane Ian churns in the Gulf of Mexico, volunteers are standing by, ready to help in its aftermath.
"This will be my first time to ride one out," Kim Mailes said Tuesday.
He is one of eight Coloradans on the ground in Florida assisting the Red Cross. He arrived Sunday in Orlando where he and others will be taking shelter until the storm passes.
"There's a lot of adrenaline, like, "Hey, we're here to do a job. Let's get this thing set up. We'll hunker down to survive, and then we'll be ready to emerge immediately after the disaster,"" Mailes said.
Their help will be greatly needed as the storm surge Ian is forecast to bring to the gulf coast of Florida could be devastating.
"That moves cars, that inundates homes, that causes the bulk of the damage and the bulk of the threat to life," said Alex DesRosiers, a Colorado State University hurricane forecast team member.
A native of Tampa, DesRosiers says this is a storm that area hasn't seen in 101 years.
"Tampa has been incredibly, almost cosmically, fortunate in these things," he said. "We really have a lot of compounding factors here making for a very dangerous and historic event for Southwest Florida and potentially Central Florida, as well."
While all eyes will be on Ian as it approaches Florida, Mailes and his team are ready for what happens next.
"We're prepared, we're well organized, and we're going to respond to those that are affected by this hurricane," he said.