By Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollumApril 6, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, April 6, 2009) - Flood operations continue in North Dakota, while missions in Minnesota and Louisiana have wrapped up and Georgia monitors the situation after heavy rains over the weekend.
The state Joint Force Headquarters in Georgia is coordinating with its civilian partners after heavy rains drenched the state over the weekend. Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in 10 counties today.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported one fatality in Georgia, two shelters were opened and numerous bridges and roads were closed throughout the state.
In North Dakota, more than 1,000 Guardmembers are still performing flood mitigation operations in the Red River Valley and the Missouri River areas, which are experiencing flooding due to the melting of snow.
Current operations include pumping operations in Lisbon, N.D., along with hauling gravel, and flood protection efforts in Drayton, N.D. UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters are assisting from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In addition to active flood-fighting, the Guard is also protecting North Dakota citizens through dike patrols, temporary shelters and traffic control points.
Army Lt. Dan Murphy, the state public affairs officer for North Dakota, said troops will remain in place to monitor the river. A date has not been set for ending the mission.
North Dakota's neighbor across the river, Minnesota, relieved most of its Guardmembers from flood duty in the Moorhead, Minn., area April 3.
A small contingent remains on duty to monitor the river and pump operations in Norman and Marshall counties, provide security in the form of roving patrols and traffic control points as well as transportation and aviation support.
At the height of operations, more than 500 Minnesota Army and Air National Guard members were called up by the governor.
Louisiana also ended its response to a potential flood in Pearl River, a town on the state's border with Mississippi.
Guard and state officials monitored the weather and used the opportunity to train for the 2009 flood season by positioning high-water vehicles and helicopters in nearby Slidell and Hammond, La., to facilitate property protection and evacuation if necessary.
After the training, Guard officials said the troops are well prepared for any event that may come their way.
"Our Soldiers responded in a timely, professional manner in support of civil authorities and the local community," said Army Col. John Angelloz, commander of the 225th Engineer Brigade (Rear). "Their actions are a direct reflection of outstanding emergency operations training, tremendous leadership and a great volunteer spirit."
(Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum writes for the National Guard Bureau.)