PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thanks to Hurricane Irene, the American Red Cross says it has a severe shortfall of blood and is asking for the donor community’s help.

This time of year is usually a critical time for blood donations, which drop in the summer.  But because of Irene, dozens of blood drives were canceled this past weekend, says spokesman Anthony Tornetta.

And that, he says, has caused a severe shortfall in blood and platelet supplies.

“To maintain a sufficient supply here in our region, we need to collect on average about 1,200 units of blood per day,” Tornetta told KYW Newsradio, “and we did not meet that goal this weekend because of Hurricane Irene.”

If you can donate platelets, which are used for cancer treatment and trauma patients, call the Red Cross at 215-451-4153 to make an appointment right away.  For blood donations, call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060