NATIONAL GUARD MOBILIZES AHEAD OF "DEADLY" HURRICANE IAN
By Anna Kim
As Hurricane Ian has grown stronger and shifted toward the east in Florida, the military has taken initiative in steering clear of the storm that may come their way. They’re also preparing for emergencies that may come about as a result of the Ian, just one of many storms in the 2022 hurricane season.
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The Strength and Potential of Hurricane Ian 2022The winds of the Category 4 storm have ripped across central Florida, and both Sarasota and Charlotte County, Florida, have been issued an extreme wind warning. Maximum winds were reported to be near 155 mph, just 2 mph short of being a Category 5 hurricane. As a result of the hurricane, Cuban residents have been left with no power. The National Hurricane Center has stated that the storm has the potential to be life-threatening. However, Mayor Lenny Curry of Jacksonville has stated that he would not make evacuation mandatory but recommends it for anyone who was flooded by Hurricane Irma.
National Guard ResponsibilitiesIn response to Hurricane Ian, more than 3,200 members of the National Guard have state orders and are preparing to deploy to areas that may be affected by the hurricane, while another 1,800 members are on standby. In the case they are needed, there are also another 2,000 members from five nearby states ready to help. Some responsibilities of the National Guard include security, flood control, search and rescue support, and route clearing, as could be seen in the National Guard Hurricane Katrina response. The Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard based in Florida are all prepared to help. The Air Force and Coast Guard have both been conducting storm overflights. Individually, the Coast Guard C-130Js have been monitoring maritime commerce and recreational vessels as well as broadcasting safety messages at sea. The Air Force Reserve has been tracking the storm as it progresses.
Evacuation OrdersOn Monday, ships and aircraft were ordered by the U.S. 4th Fleet to evacuate. The ships were evacuated from Naval Station Mayport, Florida, on September 27. USS Little Rock was the first ship ordered to leave, and aircraft are evacuating from airfields or are stored safely in hangars. Military planes have landed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Greene County, Ohio, with more expecting to arrive soon. These planes are normally at the Florida Coast, but they had to leave in order to avoid Hurricane Ian. Out of the six Air Force bases in Florida, the installations in Tampa and Miami sit directly in the path of Hurricane Ian. Rear Admiral James Aiken stated, ”Hurricane preparations were made months ago through a Navy-wide exercise ahead of the hurricane season… Our Sailors will now focus on the safe execution of those planning efforts to enable sustained fleet operations.” If you want to keep an eye on the progress of the hurricane for yourself, friends, or family, tune into this Hurricane Ian tracker from the National Hurricane Center.
Relief EffortsThe National Guard has 16 helicopters, 1,640 high-wheeled vehicles, seven boats, and 36 fuel tankers and generators on standby to help anyone affected by Hurricane Ian. Florida Army National Guard’s 146th Signal Battalion also prepared a satellite system for voice, video, and data communications in case of any infrastructure damage. The Tennessee National Guard is also prepared to respond to the consequences of the storm. So no matter what comes of the hurricane, our brave members of the National Guard across the nation are prepared to handle it.
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Image: CNN | International Space Station
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