U.S. military prepares for post-Florence response

Sept. 13 (UPI) — U.S. Northern Command is readying forces to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency in preparation for the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

NORAD is primarily responsible for homeland defense, but USNORTHCOM is also involved in disaster response by coordinating with the Department of Defense to support FEMA and provide for individual state requests.

The National Guard has activated over 2,700 Army and Air National Guard personnel from several states for recovery efforts.The National Guard will provide states with high water transportation, debris removal, supply distribution, shelter assistance and helicopter search and rescue operations.

The Defense Logistics Agency is prepared to provide and distribute over 281,000 gallons of fuel. They have also prepared 60 generators, transformers and non-perishable food and bottle water in coordination with FEMA.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deployed 18 personnel on a Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Team and has put the 249th Engineer Battalion on standby. Three Deployable Tactical Operations Center Vehicles have also been made available to assist with communications

USACE will monitor and manage dams to provide water storage and prevent breaks and flooding.

USNORTHCOM is making Fort AP Hill, Va., available as a Federal Staging Area. Fort Bragg, N.C., North Auxiliary Airfield, S.C., and Dover Air Force Base, Del., have been made available as Incident Support Bases for supply distribution.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command has ordered nearly 30 Navy ships to evacuate from the Hampton Roads area in Virginia due to impending high winds. They will steam in the Atlantic Ocean to ride out the storm.

USNORTHCOM has made available the amphibious ships USS Kearsarge and USS Arlington, along with parts of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Expeditionary Strike Group 2, to provide support from the sea if it is needed.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have reported to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to man the National Response Coordination Center. The NRCC has been sent to Level 2 activation in anticipation of a Level 1 event, the highest level of readiness available.

Hurricane Florence is a Category 2 storm expected to make landfall somewhere along the coasts of North and South Carolina on Thursday.

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