Meanwhile, Governor Nikki Haley has activated 12 South Carolina National Guard soldiers to help North Carolina with its response to Hurricane Irene. She also called up an additional nine members of an urban search and rescue task force.
North Carolina requested the assistance under an interstate compact. However, it is up to North Carolina officials whether the 21 will be sent to the coast.
Derrec Becker of the State Emergency Management Division says this team is highly skilled, one of only two in the nation, “They are trained to jump from Blackhawk helicopters and rescue people. It is composed of civilian firefighter personnel who work for local jurisdictions throughout the state and National Guardsmen. It’s civilian to military working together.”
The National Hurricane Center says this is a large storm creating Tropical Storm conditions. “The wind field will affect a very large area,” NHC’s James Franklin said, “Tropical storm force winds extend 300 miles from the center and because the speed of the storm, some areas will be experiencing tropical storm force winds for nearly a day.”
To keep an eye on traffic and travel conditions, see SCDOT traffic cams.
Gov. Nikki Haley this afternoon said, “While we’re thankful that Hurricane Irene is not projected to directly impact our state, we’re still monitoring the storm closely as it threatens the entire east coast. We urge residents along our coast to take the appropriate steps to stay safe as the threat for some tropical weather remains. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are assisting residents along our coast, including local emergency managers and responders, and those in the storm’s path, particularly Gov. Bev Perdue and the people of North Carolina. We’re ready to help them in any way we can.”