(The Center Square) – Texas is sending aid to Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to make landfall this week. What appears to be a Category 3 hurricane is growing in strength and expected to cause widespread damage. Multiple counties are under evacuation orders and 2.5 million people have already evacuated.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is regularly giving updates about a storm that has been projected to grow to a Category 4 hurricane.
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to deploy Texas A&M Task Force 1 to Florida to support a request by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The spirit of Texas is helping one another in times of need, and we are proud to help our fellow Americans in Florida ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ian,” Abbott said. “Texas is no stranger to hurricane disaster response efforts, and we recognize the urgency for additional resources in preparation of this Category 3 storm. We greatly appreciate the generosity of Floridians and aid the State of Florida has sent us during times of crisis in our state – and we are honored to do the same.”
Texas A&M Task Force 1 has deployed a Type 3 urban search-and-rescue team consisting of 45 personnel, four boats, and two canines.
Texas A&M Task Force 1 functions as one of the 28 federal teams under FEMA’s National Urban Search and Rescue System and is one of two statewide search and rescue teams under the direction of the TDEM.
Texas A&M Task Force 1 is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, a member of The Texas A&M University System, and is headquartered in College Station, Texas.
In addition to 5,000 Florida National Guard members who’ve been activated, 2,000 guardsmen and women from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina have also been activated.
When making remarks about lowering healthcare costs on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said he spoke to the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater about storm preparations. He told them, “Whatever they need, contact him directly.”
Biden’s yet to speak with DeSantis, NBC News reports, but FEMA has approved the emergency assistance requests made by DeSantis’ office, DeSantis said Monday.
While forecasts can change, Biden said, “experts say this can be a very severe hurricane, life-threatening and devastating.”
His administration is “alert and in action,” he said, “to help the people of Florida.”
FEMA has deployed hundreds of people to Florida, he said. It’s also prepositioning 3.5 million liters of water, 3.7 million meals and hundreds of generators.
Floridians in the potential impact area, he said, “should obey the instructions of local officials. Evacuate when ordered. Be prepared for the storm when it comes.
“Your safety is more important than anything. Our hearts are with everyone who will feel the effects of this storm and we will be with you every step of the way.”