Prepping for Dorian

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Prepping for Dorian

After mercilessly pounding the Bahamas and stalling out, it looks like Dorian is making its way to the US:

After what seems like an eternity, Dorian has finally moved away from Grand Bahama Island, and hurricane-force winds had mostly pulled away from the island at long last. As of 11 am EDT Tuesday, Dorian was a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, centered about 45 miles north of Freeport on Grand Bahama, and was moving northwest at 2 mph—a speed that should pick up gradually over the next 24 hours.

While Dorian’s weakening is welcome news, it has come with an expansion of the hurricane’s wind field, which is unwelcome news for the Southeast U.S. coast. At 11 am EDT Tuesday, Dorian had hurricane-force winds that extended out about 45 miles to the northwest of the center, and tropical storm-force winds that extended out about 150 miles. NHC predicted that Dorian’s hurricane-force winds would expand outward by about 10% by Wednesday.

The Coast Guard is working hard already:

Bahamians rescued victims of Hurricane Dorian with jet skis and a bulldozer as the U.S. Coast Guard, Britain's Royal Navy and a handful of aid groups tried to get food and medicine to survivors and take the most desperate people to safety...

Five Coast Guard helicopters ran near-hourly flights to the stricken Abaco, flying more than 20 injured people to the capital's main hospital. British sailors were also rushing in aid. A few private aid groups also tried to reach the battered islands in the northern Bahamas.

"We don't want people thinking we've forgotten them. ... We know what your conditions are," Tammy Mitchell of the Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency told ZNS Bahamas radio station.

Here in the US, the VA has already been impacted:

Some services at Veterans Affairs medical centers in southeastern states remain curtailed or cancelled as Hurricane Dorian lingers in the Atlantic Ocean just off the United States coastline...

All outpatient appointments have been cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday for more than 20 clinics in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Officials at the Ralph H. Johnson medical center in South Carolina have cancelled all appointments at the medical center and related clinics for the rest of this week.

Over the weekend, operations at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System resumed normal operating hours as the hurricane traveled north. VA officials have said they anticipate resuming normal operations as the weather system passes by, provided no significant damage occurs.

VA officials at multiple sites said they are “taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.”

Veterans in those areas who need immediate help should contact 1-800-507-4571.

And The American Legion is preparing to help out in the aftermarth, from our National Commander Bill Oxford:

I didn’t want my first electronic communication as national commander to you to be about a devastating hurricane. I would have much preferred to have shared news about a successful American Legion program. Or told you about an American Legion post doing remarkable community service projects. Or written about young Legionnaires leading the way into our second century of successes.

But the urgent situation in Florida and along the Eastern Seaboard necessitates this important message. As you know, Hurricane Dorian is threatening to unleash its wrath, taking lives, destroying homes and businesses, and leaving a mess that will take months — or longer — to clean up.

We’ll know more specifics about the human toll and the physical damage in the days to come.

But we are certain that American Legion members will need our help. And that’s where our National Emergency Fund (NEF) comes into play. NEF has helped thousands of our members who have had their lives shattered by natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and more.

Eligible American Legion members and Sons of The American Legion members affected by Dorian can learn more about the application process for NEF grants here. American Legion posts that have sustained damage are eligible too.

In my home state of North Carolina, we are not immune from tragedies brought on by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and whatever else Mother Nature decides to throw at us. I know that Legionnaires and posts from around my state have benefitted from the kindness our donors have shown over the years.

A few years ago, Legion Post 240 in Spring Lake, N.C., reopened after Hurricane Matthew, thanks to NEF. “The grant kept us going while I was still trying to get other funds raised,” Past Post Commander Mark Erskine said. “If it wasn’t for (the grant), we would have been doing nothing.”

First and foremost, at this time, keep our comrades in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia in your prayers. And please consider a donation to NEF to help keep the fund viable for our brothers and sisters who find themselves facing recovery from natural disasters in the years to come. 

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.