Ohio Task Force One leaves for North Carolina ahead of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence could make landfall as Cat. 4
Posted at 7:44 AM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 01:33:45-04

KETTERING, Ohio -- A Tri-State task force headed to North Carolina as Hurricane Florence draws closer to the East Coast. 

Ohio Task Force One crews left at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Florence has been upgraded for the second time Monday and is now a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. Florence has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is expected to continue growing as it heads toward the U.S. East Coast.

Crews will deploy a Water Ready Package, also known as WRP, to a spot in Kinston, North Carolina, where the hurricane is expected to make landfall.

The WRP is a 16-member team that will establish urban search and rescue resources. The team will be able to work on continuous 24-hour cycles while deployed. The team is made up of a water rescue manager, squad officers, boat operators, water rescue specialists and medical specialists.

About half of the team members are from the Cincinnati area, according to Phil Sinewe. 

“I don't have any doubt that they're going to make all of us in Ohio proud,” Sinewe said. “They have before and I don't have any doubt they will again.” 

Last year, the team went to Texas to assist with the fallout from Hurricane Harvey.

Further strengthening is expected as Florence moves toward North and South Carolina, where it could unleash its fury as the most powerful storm to hit the area in three decades.