Updated at 10:39 a.m. on Sept. 28
AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management on Tuesday to deploy Texas A&M Task Force 1 to Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian.
Ian, projected to make landfall as early as Wednesday as a Category 5 hurricane, will hit the west coast of the Florida Peninsula, their first major direct hit from a hurricane since 1921.
"The spirit of Texas is helping one another in times of need, and we are proud to help our fellow Americans in Florida ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ian," Abbott said in a statement. "Texas is no stranger to hurricane disaster response efforts, and we recognize the urgency for additional resources in preparation of this Category 3 storm.”
Ian was upgraded to a potential Category 5 storm following Abbott’s statement.
Threatened parts of Florida are currently under mandatory evacuation, as Ian is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge of up to 18 feet, and damaging winds.
The Texas A&M Task Force 1 has deployed am urban search-and-rescue team consisting of 45 personnel, four boats and two canines, the governor’s office said.
The Task Force is part of the FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue System. It responds in times of national and natural disasters completing search and rescue missions with highly trained and qualified personnel, per its website.
On Tuesday morning, the storm hit Cuba as a major hurricane with winds that topped 125 mph. It is expected to strengthen over the warm waters of the Gulf Coast before making landfall in the United States..
“We greatly appreciate the generosity of Floridians and aid the state of Florida has sent us during times of crisis in our state—and we are honored to do the same,” Abbott said.