ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — As Hurricane Dorian batters the Carolinas as it makes its way up the East Coast, Gov. Larry Hogan has authorized Maryland’s Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team to head south to help with potential rescues.
The team, which is made up of two Blackhawk helicopters with four crew members from the state’s Army National Guard and two divers, leaves Thursday for North Carolina.
“Wherever Americans are in need, the Guard will be there, and they can count on us to show up and stay until the needs are met,” Brigadier General Adam Flasch, Director of Maryland National Guard Joint Staff, said.
Flasch said that the call from Gov. Hogan came in around 11 a.m. and the team was in route just five hours later.
“We recognized the absolute criticality of the National Guard and how much our citizens rely on us and how we can never be late in their moment of need,” Flasch said.
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As Hurricane Dorian churns dozens of miles offshore, it leaves behind a path of destruction in the Carolinas.
Streets in South Carolina vanished underwater, while tornadoes in North Carolina knocked over campers and took down power lines.
Maryland’s Eastern Shore is expected to also see impacts from the storm beginning late Thursday through late Friday.
Officials along the state’s coast are preparing for prolonged rain and moderate flooding during high tide.
Flasch said that between specialized training and highly equipped helicopters, they’ll be able to make rescues in swift waters and flood zones.
“We show up in our country in our states moment of need and we do the very best to help them,” he said.
The Maryland HART team is also trained in disaster assessment. Right now, they are deployed on a 14-day mission, but that could change depending on the level of destruction left behind.