DoD personnel are helping with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and now the department’s U.S. Northern Command is preparing for the approach of Tropical Storm Nate, Pentagon officials said today.
Weather forecasters predict the tropical storm — now off Mexico’s Yucatan coast, will move north over the Gulf of Mexico, according to news reports.
Forecasters expect the storm will intensify into a hurricane and make landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted hurricane watches for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Northcom Works With Other Federal, State, Local Partners
Northcom is coordinating with federal, state and local agencies in preparation for Nate’s arrival. The command has activated a defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element and those service members have deployed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 6 in Denton, Texas, said Air Force Capt. Lauren Hill, a spokesperson for Northcom.
The Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima and amphibious transport dock ship USS New York will deploy tomorrow from Naval Station Mayport, Florida, after embarking elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The ships will transit toward the Gulf of Mexico behind Nate, to be in place should FEMA require their services.
FEMA and DoD personnel will continue to monitor the storm and change plans as appropriate, Hill said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)