Members of the U.S. Military and multi-state National Guard personnel prepare for resources to be given to local authorities and residents after the Category 4 Hurricane Florence hits South Carolina on Thursday evening. Task & Purpose photo
The U.S. military is on the move in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in the mid-Atlantic states and a state-to-state coordination for response is also underway.
As South Carolina prepares for Hurricane Florence to hit the Carolina coastline, the South Carolina National Guard has mobilized approximately 1,600 guard members to respond and assist the public, according to the U.S. Army.
In addition, Virginia Gov. Ralph Nortam has also authorized up to 6,000 personnel from the Virginia National Guard to assist South Carolina in response.
“If it stalls, we’re expecting significant rainfall – the largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high wind- flooding is the deadliest result of these storms,” Northam said during a press conference.
An initial 1,500 of the Virginia National Guard members are already mobilized to assist with future operations, which include ground and rescue operations, clearing debris, emergency transports and logistical distribution to those in need.
Those personnel are alerted and on standby, according to the National Guard. The mobilization of this number of troops in unprecedented to the state of Virginia.
Among many called to service, James Smith, Democratic Nominee for South Carolina Governor’s office has been activated to lead South Carolina National Guard personnel in the wake of the hurricane, reports the Charleston Post & Courier.
The Democratic nominee received a call Monday and started working out the Joint Headquarters of the Emergency Operations Center Tuesday. Smith is an Army major in the South Carolina National Guard. He is a member of the operations staff and will provide resources the Guard will coordinates with local authorities, reports the Post & Courier.
In addition, to protect 30 naval ships, the U.S. Navy will be shipping out to sea away from the shore for safety. “Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Christopher Grady in a press release. “The ships are coming from the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia to Sortie Condition Alpha, a status which requires them to prepare to head to sea quickly,” said Grady.
Members of the South Carolina Army and Air Force National Guard are currently positioned on counties of the coastline. According to Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston, adjunct general of the South Carolina National Guard, the number of troops will likely increase to 3,000 in the coming days.
During an interview with WACH FOX 57, Columbia, South Carolina, Livingston says that his personnel will support all of their state agency partners, assisting the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the South Carolina Fire Academy with security, route clearance and rescue operations.
“We’ve got a lot of unique capabilities due to our warfighting capabilities and we apply those to assist our operations,” Livingston said.
Livingston says that approximately 700 personnel are currently working with the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the Highway department to reverse lanes.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, a National Hurricane Center Public Advisory stated that Hurricane Florence is still a Category 4 hurricane. It is expected to hit the coastline on Thursday.
“Florence getting better organized and increasing in size,” the public advisory continues. “Life-threatening storm surge possible along the coasts of North and South Carolina. Inland flooding to follow.”
Please link to SPJ South Carolina Facebook and Twitter to read ongoing posts before the during and after the storm. SPJ Region 3 will also be re-posting the chapter’s links and covering the hurricane through SizingUpTheSouth.com.
Marquis Holmes is a senior at Kennesaw State University majoring in journalism and emerging media with a minor in military leadership. He is also editor-in-chief of the Kennesaw State University newspaper, the Sentinel. Holmes is the fall intern for SPJ Region 3. He will be graduating in December 2018. firstname.lastname@example.org
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