REISTERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland National Guard is preparing to support its neighbors across the state Sunday as it prepositions soldiers, airmen and equipment in advance of Hurricane Sandy’s anticipated landfall late Monday.
The upcoming weather phenomenon, called a “perfect storm” by some, is expected to combine a rare mixture of a tropical hurricane from the East and an early winter storm from the West. The resulting effects could dump several feet of snow in West Virginia and Virginia and inundate the rest of the Mid-Atlantic Region with up to 12 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
More than 450 Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been called to State Active Duty, and another 4,250 are available statewide if needed.
“Many of our personnel and equipment are prepositioned, allowing our emergency managers to tailor the state’s response by putting exactly what we need to handle a situation exactly where we need it,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, adjutant-general of Maryland. “This is cost-effective, and it ensures a quick response and effective use of people and equipment.”
The Guard has the necessary equipment such as trucks, “Humvees” and helicopters to move troops and supplies in and around the state if affected by a hurricane.
The Guard’s generators may also serve a significant role, as Governor Martin O’Malley told Marylanders to expect multiple days of power outages as the storm lingers over the region.
The Maryland National Guard is no stranger to natural disaster response missions. In addition to activating stateside for Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the Maryland National Guard assisted with the relief efforts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The Guard also
helped the state dig out from two massive snowstorms, which blanketed the region in early 2010.