The Civil Air Patrol’s Florida Wing wrapped up its response to Hurricane Hermine Sept. 7, 2016, and returned to normal operations after 10 days of active alert status.
The Florida Wing was put on active alert Aug. 25 due to the threat of tropical weather entering the Florida Strait.
After Hermine became a hurricane and made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Sept. 1, the wing began taking aerial photos of ground damage for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state of Florida and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
Area Command for the wing coordinated activities at command posts at Pensacola, Punta Gorda and Ormond Beach.
CAP aircrews captured more than 1,800 digital images of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Initial air sorties covered the Gulf Coast shore from Tallahassee to Punta Gorda. A third sortie captured images along the shores of Sarasota Bay.
The state’s Emergency Management Team tasked CAP for aerial images in response to a request by Sarasota County Emergency Management.
“These photos will assist Sarasota County staff to determine impacts (from Hurricane Hermine) to our shoreline, homes located along the shoreline, dune structures and beaches,” said Scott Montgomery, Sarasota County Recovery Operations chief. “CAP performed a flyover in July, part of the statewide hurricane drill — so we now have before and after photos.”
Montgomery explained that Sarasota County has three engineered beaches that are eligible for federal reimbursement for damage. The aerial images provided by CAP may assist in the county’s efforts to acquire funding for repairs by documenting the storm damage.
“A huge thank you to CAP for their efforts in assisting Sarasota County,” said Montgomery.
The Sept. 4 air sortie lasted 90 minutes and produced 474 photos of the coastal areas and inland waterways of Sarasota County.
Capt. Ann Marie Kozloski, CAP aerial photographer, was instructed to “photograph the coast and the passes from the intercostal waterways to the Gulf,” she said. “I used the training I received from NESA to make some assumptions and also included any bridges, both the entire span and the entrances and exits. Many times wind and water can damage structures.
“I was looking for any coastal erosion and/or flooding damage. I also made sure to get any and all piers, especially if they looked like city or county public fishing piers.”
NESA is Civil Air Patrol’s National Emergency Services Academy, held annually to provide specialized training for CAP members.
Col. Henry Irizarry, Florida Wing commander, said in a statement to members that “thousands of man-hours have been dedicated to this mission.”
That included aerial photography, ground team/urban direction finding operations, emergency locator transmitter search, interagency coordination, interwing operations, communications support and activation of the three mission bases as well as manning the Florida state Emergency Operations Center support staff.