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When the wind and rain stop and the sun shines, this Bellingham crew is ready to help

Helicopter crew from Bellingham will help with Hurricane Florence relief in the Carolinas

A helicopter crew with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Bellingham deployed to the East Coast Wednesday, Sept. 12 to help with search-and-rescue missions and relief efforts in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence.
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A helicopter crew with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Bellingham deployed to the East Coast Wednesday, Sept. 12 to help with search-and-rescue missions and relief efforts in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence.

When the wind finally relents, the downpour of rain ceases and the sun finally breaks through the clouds to cast light on all the damage and destruction Hurricane Florence has wrought on the Carolinas, there are certainly going to be a lot of people who need help.

Whether they’ve lost houses, other personal belongings or need to be rescued from flood waters or perhaps just need clean water, food or dry clothing and blankets, the monumental task of getting those affected by the storm the resources they need will take an army of thousands. Some of those hoping to help assist will include a crew from Whatcom County.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Thursday evening announced in a press release that the Bellingham Air and Marine branch deployed a UH-60 BlackHawk helicopter Wednesday morning in an effort to be prepared and rapidly respond to search-and-rescue missions and relief efforts in areas impacted by the storm.

“When a disaster strikes, life preservation and the safe evacuation of people in impacted areas becomes our number one priority,” Air Operations, Bellingham Air and Marine Branch Director Trevor Buehler said in the release. “Our pilots and crew members are well-trained in search-and-rescue techniques and will provide assistance as long as necessary.”

According to the release, Customs and Border Protection continues to provide numerous assets and highly trained personnel — many of whom are certified EMTs.

Customs and Border Protection assisted in rescuing more than 1,300 individuals from destruction and excessive flooding last year in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, according to a similar release on deployed Customs and Border Protection crews from Jacksonville, Fla.

"Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water, " warned the National Hurricane Center's director during an update on Hurricane Florence on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

What will the Bellingham crews face when they’re called into duty on the other side of the country?

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection crew out of Bellingham prepares a UH-60 Black Hawk o help conduct search and rescue, recovery and relief efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Florence. U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Here are some of the stories The Bellingham Herald’s sister newspapers in the Carolinas are reporting:

The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer is reporting that Florence made landfall last night with 100 mph gusts and raging water.

The Observer also took a look at whether the Red Cross could handle the challenges Florence will certainly bring to the region.

The Observer says that Charlotte and other inland areas in North Carolina are bracing for ‘extreme’ flooding this weekend.

The Observer also found a group of strangers who banded together in Wilmington, N.C., to ride out the hurricane.

Jevon Daly, a Hilton Head Island, SC resident, talks about the early waves that Hurricane Florence is stirring up in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun News is providing live updates as the storm approaches that coastal town.

Like most rivers in the area, the Waccamw River is expected to reach record flood stages near Myrtle Beach.

The Sun News also reported about the rescue of three dogs that were left in an evacuated house in Myrtle Beach without food or water.

The director of the National Hurricane Center gave an update on the track and expected impact of Hurricane Florence on the morning of September 13, 2018. He explained why the size of Hurricane Florence is a concern.

The State in Columbia, S.C. is reporting that customers could face week-long power outages because of the storm.

The State also reported that thousands of homeowners in Florence’s path do not have flood insurance.

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington Beach, North Carolina on September 14. Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views minutes after it made landfall.

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