National Guard Readies for Hurricane Irene

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2011 — Nation­al Guard adju­tants gen­er­al along the East and Gulf coasts are await­ing the poten­tial land­fall of Hur­ri­cane Irene, and prepar­ing to act if called upon by their gov­er­nors, Nation­al Guard offi­cials said today.

As of 3:30 p.m. EST today, the Flori­da Nation­al Guard’s 125th Fight­er Wing had upgrad­ed to Hur­ri­cane Con­di­tion 3 and began to evac­u­ate air­craft.

The Puer­to Rico Nation­al Guard’s 156th Air­lift Wing will remain at Hur­ri­cane Con­di­tion 1, and four of the eight evac­u­at­ed air­craft have returned back to the base, with oth­er air­craft sched­uled to return over the next two days, offi­cials there said.

South Car­oli­na Gov. Nik­ki Haley was in meet­ings and on the phone today regard­ing hur­ri­cane pre­pared­ness and decid­ed to raise the state’s readi­ness lev­el to Hur­ri­cane Con­di­tion 4, accord­ing to reports. Vol­un­teers are in place, food is avail­able, shel­ters are stocked, and the Nation­al Guard is ready, she told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

Hur­ri­cane Irene still was a Cat­e­go­ry 2 hur­ri­cane on the Saf­fir-Simp­son hur­ri­cane wind scale as of late this after­noon, accord­ing to the Nation­al Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter.

As of noon, the storm’s cen­ter was about 70 miles south of Grand Turk Island, and about 50 miles north north­west of Puer­to Pla­ta, Domini­can Repub­lic. It was mov­ing north­west at about 12 mph and was expect­ed to con­tin­ue through tonight, fol­lowed by a sharp­er turn to the north­west tomor­row.

Max­i­mum sus­tained winds are antic­i­pat­ed to reach near 100 mph, with high­er gusts. Hur­ri­cane-force winds — winds of at least 74 mph — extend out­ward up to 50 miles from the cen­ter, and trop­i­cal-storm-force winds — 39 to 54 mph — extend out­ward up to 205 miles from the cen­ter.

Accord­ing to the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion, Irene poten­tial­ly could reach land­fall in Flori­da in the next two days if it fol­lows its cur­rent course.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)