Members of the Florida Wing and their counterparts in other Civil Air Patrol wings along the Atlantic Coast are busy preparing for the impact and potential aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 3 storm expected to make landfall in the Bahamas on Thursday, Oct. 6, and skirt the Florida coastline on Friday, Oct. 7.
“Florida Wing has done a wonderful job getting out front and ahead of the storm,” said Col. Barry Melton, CAP’s Southeast Region commander. “Seventeen Florida Wing aircraft were successfully relocated to the Panhandle yesterday, and nightly HURCON teleconferences have been taking place since last Saturday evening. Georgia Wing is relocating their two coastal aircraft today.”
As Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday, the Florida Wing upgraded its military hurricane condition status to HURCON4. The upgrade from HURCON3 comes with an expectation the eastern coastline of the state will experience 50-knot or greater winds within the next 72 hours.
“The Florida Wing leadership continues to monitor the situation closely, executing plans detailed in the wing’s hurricane plan. Aircrews are being identified for potential asset relocation while qualified response personnel prepare equipment for potential post disaster response,” said Lt. Col. Robert Sims, also of the Southeast Region, in a message on the Florida Wing website.
The Southeast Region staff, along with wing commanders and their staffs in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, are scheduled to begin readiness teleconferences tonight.
“These wings stand ready to assist the Florida and Georgia wings,” said Melton. “Southeast Region is prepared to stand up an Area Command to coordinate resources if needed.”
Several states in CAP’s Middle East Region are also in the storm’s path. South Carolina and North Carolina wing leaders plan to provide personnel for their states’ emergency operations centers, beginning this weekend.