OMAHA, Neb. — As Hurricane Dorian ravages through the Bahamas, the U.S. is preparing for the worst. Hurricane Dorian is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes recorded in history. The Bahamas have already been hit with winds traveling as fast as 185 miles per hour. The hurricane has been downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4, but the dangers are still prevalent. States like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and southeast Virginia are on high alert. Local first responders along with local utility companies have already traveled to the states where the hurricane is expected to hit.
"We're interested in helping our community but even the nationwide community so we do a lot of extra training to do this so that we can be prepared to go help other folks in need and they'll return the favor if we ever need it," Nebraska Task Force One leader Jim Bopp said.
Nebraska Task Force One is one of 28 Federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces. Their 16-person team is comprised of first responders from Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln. They will help with water rescues. The Omaha Public Power District is also doing what they can do to help. They are also stationed in Florida until further notice.
"OPPD sent 15 employees down to Florida. We have 12 line workers, two mechanics and a supervisor," OPPD spokesperson Paula Lukowski said. "OPPD crews are highly trained and they're used to working under adverse weather conditions. They've had a lot of natural disasters here to work with, most recently the flooding. We've had some high wind storms, snow storms, ice storms, so they're used to working in adverse weather."
Forecasters say pinpointing exactly where Dorian will hit is tricky, but no matter where the Hurricane will hit, Nebraska Task Force One, OPPD and other responders will be there to help.
"They just want to help return people to normalcy as quickly as possible," Lukowski said.
Due to the shifting of the storm OPPD may change locations from Florida to elsewhere to help the states that need aid.