Boaters are also advised that all area drawbridges will remain closed when wind speeds are above 39 miles per hour; the Coast Guard recommends making alternative route plans, cancelling sailing plans, or completing any voyages “well in advance” of the arrival of gale force winds.
Irma, now a Category 4 storm, is due to make landfall tomorrow morning in southern Florida, where massive evacuations have been underway for days. The team was expected to depart from Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach Thursday.
“Our personnel are here to serve”, Col. Larkin said. The team consists of first responders and equipment skilled in structural collapse rescue, excavation emergencies, technical rope rescues, confined space rescues, and other specialized rescues.
More than a million of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million US citizens were estimated to be without power.
The two ships had been deploying to the Texas Gulf Coast for Hurricane Relief but were called back as Irma began churning through the Caribbean island chains.
“We’ve got two task forces down there”, AG Wilham said, “each of about 500 soldiers”.
Guardsmen from the Alaska Air Guard’s 212th Rescue Squadron and California Air Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing joined 25 community volunteers from the local police department, Texas Department of Transportation, and members of the Orange County Emergency District Number 1 Fire Station.
“If an evacuation order is given, I’d highly recommend evacuating if you can safely do so, I plan on sending my wife and the little ones away and getting them out of the area”, he said. As of 11 a.m. today, that team has already airlifted 172 people to Puerto Rico.