Miami to send 80-member ‘strike force’ team to Tampa ahead of Hurricane Ian landfall

A poncho-wearing pedestrian smokes in the rain as he walks along the sidewalk off Brickell Avenue in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. All of South Florida is now in alert for Hurricane Ian’s tropical storm-force winds. (Daniel Varela/dvarela@miamiherald.com)

The city of Miami is sending an 80-member strike force team to Tampa on Tuesday ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to make landfall along Florida’s west coast soon.

“Unfortunately, it looks like nothing will stop it from intensifying into a Category 4 storm before hitting Florida,” Mayor Francis Suarez said at a press conference.

Suarez said he has been in touch with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, and that the cities are coordinating the strike force team with the state.

Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll told the Miami Herald that the team is led by the city of Miami and is comprised of 26 additional municipalities throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as Jacksonville.

The strike team’s specialties include search and rescue, K-9 search, swift water and HAZMAT, Carroll said.

In addition, Miami-Dade County is deploying its Task Force One team to Tampa, which also has 80 members. The Miami-Dade team is deployed at the request of the federal government, according to a county spokeswoman.

Suarez also said the city of Miami is closely monitoring flooding, and that it has identified 15 to 20 “trouble areas.” The city addressed two reports of flooding on Monday, including a report of water pooling up from a manhole cover at the Brightline station downtown.

“As of this morning, thankfully, there was no flooding in the city,” Suarez said on Tuesday.

Miami is operating seven permanent pumps, seven mobile pumps and six vactor trucks to vacuum the city’s drainage system, Suarez said.