SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — American Red Cross volunteers from the Bay Area have headed to the East Coast to assist with disaster relief efforts as Hurricane Irene approaches.

Hurricane Irene, with its 100-mph winds and heavy rains, is expected to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years, Red Cross officials said.

READ MORE: DEA Issues Safety Alert As San Francisco Fentanyl Seizures Soar

Four volunteers from the Silicon Valley chapter of the Red Cross are joining four volunteers from Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Solano counties as they travel to North Carolina, New York and New England.

These trained local disaster volunteers will help local relief organizations open shelters and mobilize equipment, according to the Red Cross.

READ MORE: VIDEO: '(My) Back Is Definitely Against The Wall'; Warriors Star Andrew Wiggins Battles To Play Unvaccinated

Red Cross officials said that dozens more highly trained Bay Area volunteers are on standby, ready to leave for the East Coast on short notice for three-week assignments.

More Hurricane Coverage:
» Hurricane Irene Cancels Some Flights From Bay Area
» Watch Live Video
» Storm Tracker
» Air Travel Delays
» Complete Coverage from CBS News

MORE NEWS: 1 Dead, Suspect Sought In Daytime San Francisco Mission District Shooting

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)