By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media ActivityAugust 28, 2017
HOUSTON -- Weather forecasters report that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey are causing "catastrophic flooding" in Southeastern Texas, as 3,000 Texas State Guard and Texas National Guardsmen have now been called up to help their fellow citizens, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference in Austin, Texas yesterday.
Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the National Weather Service says the rain will continue. "This is really going to be an event that is going to continue to worsen," said Daniel Porter, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Harvey is the strongest storm to hit Texas since 1961, Abbott said. The governor said the federal government has provided all the assets the state has asked for to combat the storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the lead federal agency working with the state and local officials, as 19 counties in the region have been declared disaster areas.
During a National Incident Communication Conference Call on Hurricane Harvey on Saturday, FEMA requested the Defense Department to provide a search and rescue package to the area. This consists of two planners, nine helicopters, two fixed wing aircraft and refuelers, and pararescue teams to operate from Joint Reserve Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. In addition, DoD was asked to provide 11 generators and 50,000 gallons of gas and 50,000 gallons diesel to Fort Hood, Texas.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Corpus Christi late Friday, bringing fierce winds and heavy rain. About 900 members of the Texas Army National Guard were positioned throughout the state ahead of the storm at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The activation includes members of the Texas National Guard, the Texas State Guard with the Texas Military, officials said.
UH-60 Black Hawk and UH-72 Lakota air crews remain in position and on standby in Austin and San Antonio to assist with emergency search and rescue, swift-water rescues and emergency evacuations.
In addition, multiple Texas Army National Guard ground transportation teams have been activated to support local and state agencies with any request for swift-water rescues, high-water ground transportation and personnel evacuation needs.
"This is what we train for," said Army Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Hamilton, commander of the Domestic Operations Task Force. "And we're proud to stand beside our civilian partners, first responders and volunteers to serve the citizens of Texas."