Florida National Guard monitoring late season hurricane in Caribbean
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2011) – The Florida National Guard is currently monitoring the track of Hurricane Rina in the Caribbean, and if necessary can mobilize forces if the storm threatens the Southeast U.S.
“We receive updates several times a day from the state meteorological team and the state emergency operations center,” said Col. William Beiswenger, Florida National Guard Joint Director of Military Support, on Tuesday morning. “At this time Florida is strictly monitoring Hurricane Rina; if that changes we’re fully prepared to call up Florida National Guard forces as necessary.”
According to the National Hurricane Center forecast posted on Tuesday, the late-season Hurricane Rina was projected to skirt the coast of the Yucatan and possibly strike Western Cuba by Sunday.
Beiswenger noted that it was too early to make any predictions of whether Rina would affect Florida, but if needed the Florida National Guard can mobilize around 8,000 personnel to perform a range of emergency management services from search and rescue, to area security and logistics support.
Beiswenger noted that although Florida has been relatively unscathed by tropical storms this year, caution and preparedness are still important.
“Hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30, and although it is rare to have major storms hit our state this late in the season, it’s possible,” he said.
If a hurricane strikes Florida, the Florida National Guard would operate under the direction of the Florida Division of Emergency Management to: protect life and property; maintain peace, order and public safety; and provide support to local, state and federal emergency responders.
“This year the Florida National Guard has more Soldiers and Airmen available for emergency operations than in years past,” said Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw. “Both the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group, have returned from overseas deployments since last hurricane season, and are ready.”
More information on Hurricane Rina and latest tracking data is available at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml