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Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops activated in Florida after Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian
Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images
Residents inspect damage to a marina as boats are partially submerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, on September 29, 2022. – Hurricane Ian left much of coastal southwest Florida in darkness early on Thursday, bringing “catastrophic” flooding that left officials readying a huge emergency response to a storm of rare intensity. The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the “extremely dangerous” hurricane made landfall just after 3:00 pm (1900 GMT) on the barrier island of Cayo Costa, west of the city of Fort Myers. (Photo by Giorgio VIERA / AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops from four states are now in Florida to help in the aftermath of devastation from Hurricane Ian, the military branch revealed Thursday.  

The Guard members, who come from Florida, Louisiana, New York and Tennessee, will help using more than 1,300 ground assets including vehicles, tankers, wreckers and boats, as well as 23 helicopters for search and rescue operations, the Guard said in a statement.

“Over the next 48 hours, the National Guard is focused on the safety and well-being of everyone in the affected communities, including its own personnel,” according to the statement.  

In addition to search and rescue, the troops are also helping with air support operations, damage assessment, communication support, distribution and route clearance missions. 

Hurricane Ian on Wednesday made landfall as a Category 4 storm over southwestern Florida, with winds up to 155 miles per hour, just shy of Category 5 status. 

The weather event could prove to be the deadliest storm in Florida’s history as it punished swaths of the state with flooding rains and damaging winds, President Biden said on Thursday

The storm is now poised to batter Georgia and the Carolinas with “life threatening flooding, storm surge and strong winds,” according to the National Weather Service. 

Ahead of that movement, other state leaders have activated their own Guard troops for storm preparations as Ian progresses. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Tuesday signed an executive order authorizing up to 500 Guard members to be activated for the storm, and declared a state of emergency in the Peach State, while North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Wednesday authorized the activation of 80 National Guard troops.  

Tags Brian Kemp Category 4 evacuation Florida Hurricane Ian hurricane response National Guard Roy Cooper

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