Maj. Mike Zabetakis, Maryland Wing Group 2 emergency services officer, watches Hurricane Sandy predictions on the big screens from the CAP desk at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center in Reistertown, Md. At the state agency's request, the wing began staffing the desk Sunday at noon.
NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS – With northbound Hurricane Sandy slamming into the East Coast, wings in the Northeast and Middle East regions have moved aircraft inland or into hangars and are keeping a close eye on the storm while awaiting requests to assist as needed.
Preparations began Thursday in the Maryland Wing, for instance, with members making plans to safeguard aircraft and vehicles. The next day, Maryland members began to direct aircraft to make use of available hangar space at home stations. In addition, specified aircraft were directed to alternate airfields, with CAP planes at Easton, Frederick Municipal, Easton and Martin State airports moved to Greater Cumberland Regional Airport.
Also Friday, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency asked that the wing staff the CAP desk at the Emergency Operations Center in Reisterstown around the clock , from 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 through 7 a.m. Wednesday.
To the south of Maryland, Col. David E. Crawford, North Carolina Wing commander, cautioned members to “hope for the best, but expect the worst” in the face of the storm and its aftermath.
The State Emergency Operations Center began receiving damage and flooding reports from some coastal communities Sunday. Hard hit was Pender County, particularly Topsail Island, where beach homes are built close together.
In addition, thanks to a major winter storm that moved in from the west even as Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast, “wet snow is falling in the North Carolina mountains, and Gov. Bev Purdue declared a state of emergency for 24 counties — this in addition to some 40 counties in eastern North Carolina,” Crawford said.
“The North Carolina Wing is on full alert, and we are prepared to mobilize our personal and assets when we get the call.”
Those wings and others throughout the potentially affected areas are poised to respond to requests for assistance, which could include such missions as aerial imagery, emergency communications support, searches for missing aircraft or people, distribution of food or water, checking on residents or helping to fill and stack sandbags.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updates are available on the agency's website or through VolunteerNow's Hurricane Sandy page.
For full coverage of CAP's role in the response to the superstorm, check VolunteerNow's Hurricane Sandy page.