Hurricane Ian is projected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 155 miles per hour, 2 mph away from Category 5. Additional severe weather risks include storm surge, heavy seas, and rain leading to flooding, and high winds which can cause tornadoes.
Since the start of hurricane season in June, Coast Guard units from South Carolina to the Florida Panhandle, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been training and preparing to face any storms this season. Incident Management Teams are stood up at District Seven in Miami, Sector St. Petersburg and Sector Key West, with additional Incident Command System elements activated for Sector Miami and Sector Jacksonville.
This past weekend, Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District and director of Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast, visited the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix in the wake of Hurricane Fiona to ensure the local government and Coast Guard units were supported in storm recovery. Today, McPherson conducted a joint press conference with the State of Florida Governor’s Office in Tallahassee to express the U.S. Coast Guard is prepared to support Floridians in facing Hurricane Ian.
“The Coast Guard is here and ready to fully support the State of Florida in our shared response to Hurricane Ian,” said Capt. Nicolette Vaughan, chief of prevention for the Coast Guard 7th District and IMT Area Commander for the Hurricane Ian incident response team. “Our primary focus is to rescue those in distress. Our next focus will be to reopen the ports affected as soon as possible to ensure vital resources and supplies are delivered where they are most needed.”
At the same time, HSTF-SE units are maintaining an active presence in the Caribbean and Florida Straits to prevent and deter irregular, illegal maritime migration, which can prove even more dangerous and deadly during hurricane season.
To date, District Seven has repositioned and prepositioned hurricane response units across the State of Florida, pre-staged to surge into impacted areas for lifesaving search and rescue resources, port reconstitution teams and any other maritime infrastructure and emergency respond needs the Coast Guard can provide. These include the following:
- Aircraft: 21 rotary wing (rescue helicopters) MH-65 Dolphin and MH-60T Jayhawk, and 9 fixed wing (rescue airplanes) able to search and rescue persons in distress.
- Coast Guard Cutters (USCGC): 31 multi-mission search and rescue ships, 4 buoy tenders and 3 construction tenders to service aids to navigation.
- Flood Response Teams: 40 shallow water response teams able to access those stranded by the storm surge and heavy rain.
- Personnel: Surging in additional support from across the United States to provide resiliency for continuous operations.
Additional coordination with the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command, the Coast Guard 8th District, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with other federal, state and local departments like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will ensure continuous hurricane response support to the State of Florida and other impact areas following the storm. Post storm, crews will take to the water, assessing port conditions, identifying safety concerns to protect mariners and restore the maritime commerce and tourism industries that Florida depends upon.
Residents of Georgia and South Carolina are reminded to remain vigilant as Hurricane Ian’s track may cross the Florida Peninsula and continue up the eastern sea
Up-to-date weather information can be found at https://www.weather.gov/. If you are in an evacuation or flood zone, follow the instructions from local emergency managers, who work closely with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial agencies and partners. They will provide the latest recommendations based on the threat to your community and appropriate safety measures. Visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes for more information on how to prepare for hurricane season.
Para mantenerse actualizado sobre la Huracán Ian en Español pulse aquí.
Updated port conditions for hurricanes and tropical storms can be found at https://homeport.uscg.mil/. For more information about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness, visit NOAA’s and FEMA’s websites where you can find widgets that provide hurricane tracks and other updates. These can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes, www.nhc.noaa.gov, and www.fema.gov.
As a reminder, people in distress should use 911 to request assistance whenever possible, or VHF radio channel 16 for mariners. Social media should not be used to report distress.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.