NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Texas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol began preparations Aug. 28, 2017, to provide aerial and ground support for the state of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as severe weather continued from Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey slammed the coast of Texas as a Category 4 hurricane Friday night, Aug. 25, leaving a trail of destruction along the coast. Rockport and Corpus Christi took the brunt of the storm, with high winds and rain pummeling the coastal communities.As Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm, moves northeast, Houston and surrounding areas have had an unprecedented amount rainfall in the past 24 hours and are due to receive additional 15 to 25 inches of rain.
The state of Texas has tasked the Texas Wing to take photos of the damage and flooded areas along the coast.
Additional tasking of ground teams may be requested to deactivate emergency position indicating radio beacon locator transmitters on boats damaged during the storm.
Texas Wing Commander Col. Sean Crandall has asked members to check their equipment and be prepared to start flying as early as Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Mission activities will coincide with preparation for Civil Air Patrol’s National Conference at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, so a temporary incident command post will be set up at the hotel.
Accumulations of 5 to 15 inches are expected farther south along the Texas coast, west in the Texas Hill Country and east into central Louisiana. Rivers located between Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Houston are forecast to reach major to record flood levels, causing additional flooding as the water moves south toward the Gulf of Mexico.
Approximately 1,000 of Texas Wing’s 3,200 members live along the Gulf Coast from Brownsville to Houston, with the largest concentration in the Houston area. CAP airplanes were moved out of the coastal area on Thursday to various locations farther north.
Texas Wing’s 3,200 volunteer members statewide provide support to various national, state and local agencies on a daily basis. With 34 aircraft and 43 vehicles assigned to the wing, aircrew members flew 5,182 hours and ground teams drove 155,264 miles during training and support of search and rescue and counterdrug, and homeland security missions in 2016.
Civil Air Patrol operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited with saving an average of 80 lives a year.
CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.