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Apple donates $1M to Red Cross in response to Hurricane Florence

Verizon, meanwhile, extends its free communication offer for customers impacted by the hurricane.

US-WEATHER-environment-HURRICANE

A tree bends from the heavy rain and wind caused by Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday.

Andrew Caballero-reynolds / AFP/Getty Images

Tech companies rushed to help out as Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina.

Apple is sending $1 million to the Red Cross to help in its emergency assistance and disaster relief efforts, CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet Friday morning.

"The Carolinas are in our hearts. To our employees there, first responders and everyone in Hurricane Florence's path, please stay safe. To help those affected, Apple is donating $1M to the Red Cross," he wrote.

The company regularly donates to charities following natural disasters, 9to5Mac notes. In 2017, it gave $5 million for Hurricane Harvey relief (in addition to accepting customers' donations via iTunes) and $1 million to help deal with the California wildfires (it did so again last month).

Verizon also opened up its network to make communication easier for the hurricane's forecasted duration to help people stay connected.

"Free calling, text and data for Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Verizon Wireless customers impacted by Hurricane Florence from 9/14-9/17," the company tweeted early Friday. It's also allowing customers to donate to the Red Cross via text. On Tuesday, it extended the data offer for North Carolina to Sept. 25.

"We want customers in areas of North Carolina most impacted by Hurricane Florence to focus on what matters most. So we're extending free calling, text and data through 9/25," it wrote.

The carrier's network held up despite the severity of the storm, with nearly 99 percent of its facilities in the Carolinas in service, Verizon said in an emailed statement.

AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are offered similar ways to maintain communications.

The Facebook community activated Safety Check for Hurricane Florence early Friday, the company noted, days after it extended the feature to the Lite version of its app.

Early estimates show the storm, which hit the coast near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Friday morning, caused as much as $22 billion in destruction, making it one of the 10 most costly hurricanes in US history.

The Weather Channel used augmented reality to demonstrate a "worst-case scenario," showing what would happen if the storm surge rose to six and nine feet.

First published Sept. 14 at 10:02 a.m. PT.
Updated on Sept. 19 at 7:44 a.m. PT: Adds extended Verizon data offer and early damage cost estimation.

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