Hurricane season officially peaked on Sept. 10.
It's been a quiet season until now. Three storms are in the Atlantic: Florence, Isaac, and Helen are heading towards the east coast. Hurricane Florence is leading the trio as it barrels towards the U.S. As of late Thursday, it is projected to be a category 4 hurricane, which will be impacting North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to to be felt Wednesday in those areas. A mass evacuation order is already underway with over 1.7 million people under warnings to evacuate.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken some steps to make assistance available to other states. He has planned to lift weight restrictions on emergency vehicles and put the national guard and high water response teams on standby.
Lee County will contribute with two ambulances. The emergency vehicles left Tuesday morning. They are heading to Wilmington, North Carolina, to help out with the response to the monstrous hurricane. Lee County has 320 emergency medical services employees and over a half dozen of those government workers will be sent.
The team is being sent to help at the request of the state. According to city officials, the expenses will be fully reimbursable, since Gov. Scott made a federal disaster area declaration.
Some people in Southwest Florida have questioned the decision by the Florida government to divert resources to North Carolina and South Carolina since Florida may be threated by an upcoming hurricane.
A spokesperson for Lee County reassured SWFL residents. The spokesperson said that if a storm were to become a threat to Southwest Florida while the Lee County team is deployed to areas impacted by Hurricane Florence , then the state could cancel its order. The cancellation will effectively have the emergency medical services team returning to Lee County promptly.
“A year ago, we received the assistance of five Ambulance Strike Teams from across the country after Hurricane Irma ," Ben Abes said, who is the chief of Emergency Medical Services. "We’re fortunate to be able to share our team with our friends in North Carolina as they prepare for the impacts of Hurricane Florence.”
This season predictions for hurricanes have been all over the place. One of the most recent predictions concluded that there would be less than the average number of hurricanes this season. But Hurricane Florence, Isaac, and Helene are a reminder that hurricane season is not over until Nov. 30.