By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (10/26/12) – More than 61,000 National Guard personnel along the eastern seaboard are available for duty if and when Hurricane Sandy makes landfall sometime next week, Guard officials said today.
The National Guards in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia are coordinating with authorities in the event Sandy makes landfall as predicted.
As of 12 p.m. today, governors in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and the Mayor of Washington D.C., have declared states of emergency.
"We are monitoring Hurricane Sandy closely and coordinating with our federal, state and local partners to ensure a coordinated and efficient response," said Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "Units across the National Guard are making the necessary preparations to respond to the needs of any states affected by Hurricane Sandy; rest assured the National Guard is poised and ready to provide proven responders and capabilities."
According to National Weather Service officials, the Category I storm could weaken into a tropical storm before it hits land in the Northeast/New England coast, but it could drop as much as 10 inches of rain along the coast on its northerly trajectory. If it collides with arctic air moving from the north and an early winter storm moving from the west, Sandy could potentially turn into what some weather officials are calling the “perfect storm.”
In Delaware, the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron has nurses and med techs already on standby, while the Air Guard is moving all flyable equipment out of the storm’s path over the weekend. The Army Guard will be sheltering helicopters until the storm passes, at which point they can fly into action as needed, Delaware National Guard officials said.
"We are joined in a cooperative effort - to save lives, protect property, and support recovery efforts," Gen. Grass said.
The Delaware and New York Public Affairs offices and Air Force Maj. Gary Arasin contributed to this story.
Last Updated: 01:45 p.m. EST, Oct. 27, 2012