Howard firefighters join rescue teams, as Hurricane Florence churns

Howard County sent two firefighters to help rescue teams in high-risk areas expected to be raked by Hurricane Florence as soon as Thursday night.

Battalion Chief Stephen Hardesty and Firefighter Dain Yakich traveled to South Carolina around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The men, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, have not received assignments and can be in the region for up to 30 days, according to Brad Tanner, a spokesman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

They will be part of an urban search-and-rescue team from Maryland, county authorities said.

The hurricane, which has been downgraded to a Category 3 storm but expanded in size, is expected to hit the Carolinas on Friday and is likely to continue south. The storm might have winds as high as 129 mph.

Howard is expected to receive between 1 and 2 inches of rain and has a 5 percent chance of having winds topping 35 miles per hour, according to county spokesman Mark S. Miller.

Miller surmised the event would have a “minimal impact on [Howard]” though, the emergency operations team will continue to monitor the situation and deploy help when needed.

Howard County residents have used hundreds of sandbags from St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City over the past two days, according to the Rev. Anjel Scarborough.

Scarborough said church volunteers delivered sandbags to business on lower Main Street in Ellicott City, especially to those still rebuilding since a major May 27 flood.

The church said it will continue to give sand to residents and businesses in need.

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