USA: The Salvation Army readies for the Hurricane Season's next major storm - Update

The Salvation Army is staged and ready to respond to impending Hurricane Dennis, the largest storm to strike the United States this early in the season since 1957.

After battering Cuba, Hurricane Dennis was downgraded from a Category 4 storm to a Category 1. However, the storm returned to open water and began to regain strength, becoming a very dangerous Category 4. According to forecasters at the Hurricane Center, Dennis is moving NW at 18 Mph with 145 Mph winds, and is expected to make landfall between Pensacola and Destin, Florida later this afternoon.

A Category 4 hurricane carries sustained winds of between 131 - 155 mph, and a storm surge of feet. By comparison, Ivan was a Category 3 storm when it struck the Gulf Coast and caused $13 billion in damage in the United States alone.

This is the fourth named storm to have formed in the Atlantic Basin this season, the most ever this early in the hurricane season, according to the Hurricane Center. Salvation Army emergency response teams just completed their work in the aftermath of tropical storm Cindy that came ashore in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama earlier this week, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rains.

In preparation for Dennis , all Salvation Army units in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma have been activated and are currently stocking 60 mobile feeding units that are capable of serving 500 hot meals per day. The Army has nearly 200 of these mobile feeding vehicles available, if necessary, and another 125 special vehicles designated for disaster response throughout the Southeast. Units are staged in Jackson, Mississippi and Tallahasee, Florida, fully prepared to meet the needs of victims and first-responders immediately after the storm.

Last year's intense storm season, including Hurricane Ivan, resulted in the largest disaster response in The Salvation Army's history next to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. During the six-week, 24-hour a day response to the four hurricanes, The Salvation Army distributed 6.8 million pounds of relief supplies, served 2.8 million meals, 1.2 million bottles of water, 4.9 million pounds of ice, and assisted nearly 4 million people with the help of many thousands of donors who gave generously to aide storm victims. The work, in fact, did not stop with the end of storm season. As with the response to 9/11 and other disasters, The Salvation Army has remained on scene helping survivors rebuild their homes and their lives and will continue to serve the affected communities through this current storm season until the need is met.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 9,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to .