RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia National Guard (VNG) has mobilized in the Eastern Shore and at key locations along the I-95 corridor and in the Hampton Roads area to help local and state agencies respond as needed to Tropical Storm Isaias.
Potential missions for the VNG include transporting people through high water using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks and removing debris using chain saws.
“Whether we are mobilizing 40 Soldiers on the Eastern Shore for possible impacts from a tropical storm, assisting with Virginia’s COVID-19 response or staging 1,500 Soldiers across the commonwealth like we did for Hurricane Florence, the Virginia National Guard continues to demonstrate it can rapidly respond with the assistance requested by Virginia localities,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia.
The governors of Florida, North Carolina and Virginia have declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm, which came ashore in North Carolina late Monday night. Additional National Guard troops are expected to be activated as the storm works its way up the East Coast.
The storm is expected to deliver heavy rain, flooding, high winds, dangerous storm surge, life-threatening surf, rip currents, and severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to portions of the Eastern U.S. through early this week.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency July 31, authorizing the VNG’s mobilization.
“This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”
During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multi-agency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local agencies to provide support to communities in need.
“It is very important that we get our personnel and equipment staged and ready at the right locations before the severe weather hits, so we are able to rapidly respond if needed,” explained Brig. Gen. James Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff.
More personnel and equipment could be brought on duty if needed, Ring said.
Additional Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force members will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett and remotely to provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support.
In North Carolina, Soldiers of the 878th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, North Carolina National Guard, prepared to deploy to various staging areas as the state prepared for a possible coastal landfall of the storm.