Local Red Cross volunteers ride out storm, East Coasters stranded in Phoenix

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PHOENIX -- Forecasters warn this weekend’s blizzard could be one for this history books.  Snow is already piling up Friday night, as the Northeast braces for what could be yet another monster storm.

“I’m starting to panic a little bit,” said Jeff Lerner of Connecticut, who’s flight out of Phoenix was among the dozens canceled at Sky Harbor Friday.  Thousands of flights were canceled nationwide.

He and a handful of other East Coasters are stuck in Phoenix for the weekend.  Lerner is worried about his family back home.

“They’re hoping we get home by Monday; it’s really bad,” he told 3TV.

This latest round of severe weather comes as the region is still cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy, an effort which still involves local Red Cross volunteers.

“You can see they’re still affected by what happened with Sandy; fear is still there,” said Renee Adolph, a volunteer with the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Adolph flew into New York on Thursday to help with continued recovery.  However, now she’s waiting to learn whether her mission will change to disaster mode.

“If the storm is as severe as they’re thinking it might be, I’ve gotta be ready to respond to open shelters in the area,” said Adolph.

She described a sense of panic in the streets as people swamped supermarkets and gas stations ahead of nightfall.

“I ran across the street here, and stocked up on stuff because they are talking about possible power outages,” Adolph told 3TV by phone. “In Long Island, I guess there isn’t even any fuel there, because people are panicking.”

“New Yorkers, New Englanders, we’re a tough bunch; we’re resilient,” said Rob, who declined to give his last name. He’s among the East Coasters stuck in Arizona this weekend.

“Arizona, or a blizzard?” he joked. “It’s kinda nice; this doesn’t hurt at all.”