Local military squads, rescue organizations help with Harvey relief

(Photo courtesy of the Virginia Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue Team Facebook page)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY/AP) — Military squads and rescue organizations from the area are heading to Texas to help with the rescue efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

The storm brought devastating and unprecedented flooding to Houston after if made landfall as a Category 4 storm. Thousands of residents were forced onto rooftops or higher ground.

Houston is now bracing for even more flooding, as numerous groups are looking to aid affected residents.

The HSC-7 Dusty Dogs, a helicopter sea combat squad out of Naval Station Norfolk, responded to Texas. A Facebook post Sunday showed the squadron in Memphis, Tennessee, before heading off to that region.

The Virginia Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue Team says they also have been activated and are deploying a water rescue package from Virginia Beach. Most recently the team conducted search and rescue operations for Hurricane Matthew and Joaquin.

The Hampton Roads Red Cross is sending a crew to help with the delivery of goods, shelter assistance and distributing emergency supplies.

Operation Blessing’s U.S. Disaster Relief Team is also on the ground in Texas for relief efforts.

North Carolina Emergency Management says they are sending two helo-aquatic rescue teams, known as NC HART, to help with flood rescue and response.

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said the government expected to conduct a “mass care mission” and predicted that the aftermath of the storm would require FEMA’s involvement for years.

“This disaster’s going to be a landmark event,” Long said.

The fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade came ashore late Friday about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi as a mammoth Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. Harvey weakened Saturday to a tropical storm.

On Sunday, it was virtually stationary about 25 miles northwest of Victoria, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph, the hurricane center said.

The system was the strongest hurricane to strike Texas since 1961’s Hurricane Carla, the most powerful Texas hurricane on record.