MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Saturday authorized the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Clanton to level one and the activation of the Alabama National Guard (ALNG) for state active duty, due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma and the state’s role in supporting additional neighboring state evacuees. The National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for several southeastern Alabama counties and a Tropical Storm Watch for several counties in eastern Alabama.
“We have been watching Hurricane Irma very closely since it first formed in the Atlantic and as it continues to track further west. On Friday, I issued a State of Emergency and activated our State Emergency Operations Plan, we now feel it necessary to activate the State Emergency Operations Center to a Level One and activate members of the Alabama National Guard. I want to ensure that our people are in place to respond immediately to whatever Irma may bring our way,” Governor Ivey said. “We are ready to protect the people of Alabama and those who have recently sought refuge in our state.”
A level one activation requires an extensive state response, providing support to local governments where local resources may be overwhelmed. This level of activation ensures, the SEOC is fully staffed for 24 hour operations by the command staff and the following sections: operations, planning, logistics and finance/administration.
“We have been tracking the path of Hurricane Irma for several days. As the track started to shift more westward and pose a greater threat to Alabama, we have in turn adjusted the necessary staff and resources to ensure the greatest level of preparedness,” Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings said. “In Alabama, our primary threat continues to be the potential for damaging winds and likely power outages and down trees.”
The ALNG active duty personnel will also provide additional planning and force generation personnel throughout the state to assist areas that will have the greatest impact from Hurricane Irma.
“The Alabama National Guard continues to monitor Hurricane Irma and the evolving weather situation,” Adjutant General Sheryl E. Gordon said. “We are taking all prudent steps to plan and posture forces and resources to support the Governor and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency in advance of the possible storm effects on the State of Alabama. Providing defense support to civilian authorities is a core mission for the Alabama National Guard. Our Soldiers and Airman are highly trained, well equipped and ready to respond to assist our fellow citizens in Alabama.”
As we are closely monitoring this fluid situation in Alabama, the Alabama National Guard is also in direct contact with the National Guards of impacted or potentially impacted states to coordinate response efforts if necessary. Alabama stands ready to assist the State of Florida and other affected states as the current weather situation develops.
The SEOC will remain activated at level one until the threat for Hurricane Irma diminishes. For the latest information on Alabama preparedness events of resources available to Hurricane Irma evacuees you can visit: http://governor.alabama.gov/Irma.
Governor Ivey and members of the Emergency Operations Team will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Emergency Operations Center in Clanton. More details will be provided later tonight.