A search and rescue team from Tennessee is deploying Tuesday morning to Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence.
The Tennessee Task Force Type 3 Search and Rescue Team has been given orders by FEMA to be on standby at Fort A.P. Hill military base in Bowling Green, Virginia as Hurricane Florence marches toward the East Coast.
The 45-member team includes firefighters, doctors, engineers and canine handlers. They will be responsible for Wide Area Search and Rescue efforts and Swift Water Rescue.
It’s unknown at this time how long the team will be on duty.
Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm that continues to strengthen, is bearing down on the North and South Carolina Coasts, forcing evacuations.
Florence is packing maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and higher gusts as of Tuesday morning. The storm is expected to make landfall along the North Carolina coast, possibly as a Category 4 storm, overnight Thursday into Friday.
In addition to winds, the storm is expected to slow as it moves onto the coast and could drop 15 to 20 inches of rain with 30 inches locally, in North Carolina, Virginia and northern South Carolina.
The National Hurricane Center is already warning for the possibility of “life-threatening” storm surge from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border in the next 48 hours.
There’s a mandatory evacuation for most of South Carolina’s coast beginning at noon on Tuesday. It’s estimated that about 1 million residents will flee the coast before Florence’s arrival.
Coastal areas of North Carolina began evacuating Monday.
Evacuations were also ordered along the Virginia coast for about 245,000 people.
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Florence was located about 410 miles south of Bermuda and 975 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.