U.S. Army Corps of Engineers preparing ahead of Ian

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH (WWAY) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides a wide range of engineering services, like building bridges and roads, they’re also tasked with reducing risks from disasters.

According to Col. Benjamin Bennett, the Corps plays a critical role in disaster relief operations.

“So right now we are focused on the safety and security of our personnel,” he said.

That personnel includes nearly 400 people from the Wilmington District prepared to support agencies in the event of damage from Ian.

“Right now we’re making sure we have the systems in place, and to have the people we need in place to safely monitor the storm as it approaches,” said Bennett.

Bennett is in close contact with his division commander stationed in Florida, who is working to make sure areas in Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington collectively prepare for the storm ahead.

“If North Carolina has any requests, that we are postured not only as a district but regionally, but to help fill those requirements,”  he said.

According to USACE Chief of Emergency Management Stephen LaValle those duties are critical in the event of a damaging storm.

“We secure mission sets for the state of North Carolina,” he said.  “These mission sets are temporary power; debris removal; infrastructure assessment; roofing, and temporary housing.”

According to Bennett, right now the corps is focused on flooding, and want to make sure plans are in place to help reduce the risk across the state.

“We’re monitoring our storm capacity,” he said. “The good news is we have a lot of storm capacity available.”

This means lakes and reservoirs are low and will allow heavy rains a place to collect to help prevent the flooding the Corps is concerned about.

With Ian’s impact still unknown, as of now, it’s just wait and see

“We’re going to stay tuned to what our local state leadership is telling us to do,” said Bennett.

He advises doing the same.

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