Florida says it has enough Guard troops if Ophelia hits
Florida officials said on Thursday that the state has enough National Guard troops to deal with Tropical Storm Ophelia.
Officials gave differing numbers for how many troops are available, ranging from 7,000 to 8,700.
All agreed the state is not wanting for troops. Between 500 and 600 of the state’s National Guard troops are currently assisting in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, officials said.
“We have more than sufficient forces to support our state’s needs,” said Lt. Col. Ron Tittle, a spokesman for the Florida National Guard.
Tittle said the National Guard has already planned to move its headquarters at St. Augustine if compelled by flooding to evacuate.
But as of Thursday, the National Guard had not pre-positioned troops to deal with Ophelia, he said.
As the National Guard learned last year with Hurricane Charlie, pre-positioning troops can put them in the path of the storm, he said.
Still, the troops will be available on the scene if needed, Tittle said.
“We’ll certainly have troops on the ground as soon as that thing passes through to maintain law and order certainly working in conjunction with law enforcement,” he said.