WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2016) — More than 2,200 National Guard personnel, from 11 states and the District of Columbia, assisted first responders and residents beleaguered by Jonas, a massive winter storm that hit the mid-Atlantic, Jan. 22-23.
Governors called out the National Guard after declaring states of emergency in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
In Maryland, 535 Guard personnel were deployed to assist local authorities. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s office stated 212 Guard vehicles were ready to respond to incidents of coastal flooding along the lower Eastern Shore and to assist local law enforcement with transportation, evacuation, distribution of supplies, road clearing, search and rescue, aircraft support, medical evacuations, and sheltering assistance.
That type of assistance was typical in many of the other states that were affected by the storm.
In Virginia, about 700 Guard personnel were called up to deal with the storm, as well as to provide mission command and administrative and logistical support to first responders.
“The Virginia State Police is fortunate to have the National Guard as an additional resource to aid us in our storm response efforts,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “When every second counts in an emergency situation, having the ability to respond as swiftly and safely as possible is essential for our troopers.”
Guard Soldiers reportedly assisted in saving at least two lives in Virginia. They also transported essential medical supplies, towed fire trucks stuck in the snow and conducted health and welfare checks.
“I am extremely proud of how well our personnel are working as part of the commonwealth’s multi-agency response team,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia. “After we received the authorization from Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe, we aggressively moved our forces into place so they would be ready to go when needed. It is great to see how the skills, experience and resources of our Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are able to assist the statewide effort to protect the citizens of the commonwealth.”
Other areas also activated Guard personnel, according to the National Guard Bureau. Some of the totals include: Delaware, 275; Washington, D.C., 100; New York, 95; Kentucky, 75; New Jersey, 120; Pennsylvania, 300; and, West Virginia, 120.
Jonas was a “historic” winter storm in terms of inches of snow and gale-force winds, according to a National Weather Service bulletin, Jan. 24. Wind gusts of more than 70 mph were reported in parts of Virginia, Delaware and Massachusetts.
A Jan. 24 National Weather Service bulletin reported two feet or more of snow in portions of New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Editor’s note: Steve Marshall, of the National Guard Bureau and Cotton Puryear, of the Virginia National Guard contributed to this article.