Houston-area utility crews head to Florida to help after Hurricane Ian

Charly Edsitty Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Help is on the way: From CenterPoint Energy workers to the Red Cross and even a local first responder non-profit -- Houstonians are stepping up to support Florida.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Floridians wait for Hurricane Ian -- dangerously close to Category 5 strength -- to make landfall along the state's western coast, several Houston-area organizations are on their way to help.

With wind speeds measuring 155 mph, the storm is expected to cause catastrophic damage.

It's blue skies and beautiful weather across our city, but many Houstonians can't help but think about what Floridians are dealing with right now.

With the community being no stranger to tropical weather, many people from the Houston area are stepping up to help in the aftermath.

Hurricane Ian live radar: Latest maps, projections and possible path as storm approaches Florida

Utility trucks and crews with CenterPoint Energy are already on their way to Florida.

About 100 linemen from Houston and Indiana, along with support staff, are part of a convoy that left on Tuesday.

As soon as it's safe, crews will be working 16-hour shifts to restore power across the state.

The local Red Cross from Houston also already has volunteers hunkered down in the path of the storm.

More volunteers are expected to leave on Thursday morning around 9 a.m. with emergency assistance vehicles stocked with supplies. They hope to arrive by Saturday.

RELATED: What is storm surge? Explaining dangers along Florida's coast when Hurricane Ian makes landfall

About 40 Houstonians with the organization Crowd Source Rescue are also on their way to Florida. They are focusing on mobilizing after the storm clears to help rescue people who may be trapped.

ABC13's Charly Edsitty spoke with field director Paul Middendorf. He is from east Houston and is headed into Sarasota.

"The wind is starting to pick up, and it's raining pretty good. The next couple of hours is going to get real bad, so our teams are en route to hunker down in a parking garage to ride out storm surge and high winds," Middendorf said.

Some members of the Houston Fire Department are also on their way to help. They're part of the Texas A&M Task Force 1.

Gov. Greg Abbott deployed them Tuesday, saying Texas is happy to help our fellow Americans in Florida.

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SEE ALSO: Hurricane categories explained: How strong is each category?