Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit and the St. Clair Shores Coast Guard Station were ready to help as needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit and the St. Clair Shores Coast Guard Station were ready to help as needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

File photo by Kristyne E. Demske


Local Coast Guard units ready to help in hurricane’s aftermath

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published September 6, 2019

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METRO DETROIT — While Hurricane Dorian took its toll on the southern Atlantic Coast, members of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit and the St. Clair Shores Coast Guard Station were ready to help as needed.

As of Sept. 4, the hurricane was hitting portions of Florida’s northeast coast after pelting the Bahamas for 48 hours. The National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expected a life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds to hit parts of Florida’s east coast, as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, no matter which path the hurricane took. North Carolina’s coast is also at risk and flash flooding threatened the Florida and mid-Atlantic coast.

At least seven people on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas were killed as a result of the hurricane, which hit the island nation as a Category 5 storm, but continued to cause historic damage as a Category 3 hurricane.

Justin Bommer, lieutenant junior grade with the Coast Guard Sector Detroit, said that four members of that unit deployed over Labor Day weekend to assist with cross agency incident command. Multiple agencies — including the Coast Guard, and police and fire departments — are working together to form a command structure to be ready for when the storm hits the U.S. so that disaster assistance can be sent in as soon as possible.

In addition, Bommer said, “We have multiple rescue crews on standby from our small boat stations,” including the St. Clair Shores Coast Guard Station, he said Sept. 3. If rescue crews are needed, he said they will be sent to affected areas with small motorized boats that can be used for search and rescue.

“When it’s approaching (at) that point, they determine what resources would need to be requested,” he said. “They’re ready to deploy, but they have not deployed yet. That could happen at any moment.”

The amount of assistance that will be needed is hard to predict, Bommer said, and depends on the path of the hurricane.

“It could take a hard right and stay away from the coastline, or it could just hover,” he said.

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