Alabama governor activates national guard, emergency operations center

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Saturday night authorized activation of the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton and

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Saturday night authorized activation of the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton and the Alabama National Guard due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma and the state's role in supporting additional neighboring state evacuees, according to a statement from the governor.

Ivey made the decision in the wake of the National Weather Service issuing a Tropical Storm Warning for several southeastern Alabama counties and a Tropical Storm Watch for several counties in eastern Alabama.

The governor will meet with emergency coordinators prior to holding a press conference at 1 p.m. Sunday with Alabama Emergency Management Director Brian Hastings, Acting Meteorologist-in-Charge at the National Weather Service in Birmingham and other members of the Emergency Operations Team.

"We have been watching Hurricane Irma very closely since it first formed in the Atlantic and as it continues to track further west," Ivey stated. "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," Ivey stated. "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, according to the statement. 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."  

Adjutant General Sheryl E. Gordon also said "The Alabama National Guard continues to monitor Hurricane Irma and the evolving weather situation."

"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," Gordon stated. "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."

According to the statement 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," according to the statement.

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 the governor's website. 

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Article Alabama governor activates national guard, emergency operations center compiled by www.al.com

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