MISSOULA - Two days after Hurricane Ian first came ashore on Florida's Gulf Coast, the extent of the damage is becoming more apparent.
Aerial images reveal a wide path of destruction that has left over 20 people dead. U.S. officials say it's going to take months, even years, to rebuild.
But right now, rescue groups and organizations are doing what they can to help — including first responders from Montana.
A team from Western Montana is stationed in Sarasota County, providing aid to those who have been affected by Hurricane Ian.
“There's no electricity down there," said Missoula County Disaster and Emergency Services Deputy Coordinator Nick Holloway. "Some of the roads and bridges are out, they’re seeing river flooding that is still going up. They're still doing search and rescue operations. So those are the kinds of things we're seeing. A lot of wind damage as well.”
The Western Montana All Hazards Team has helped with all kinds of natural disasters, and this isn’t their first time providing relief to Florida following a hurricane.
“We were down here for hurricane Michael, which was a Cat 5 hurricane in 2018,” said Holloway.
The team made its way to Florida not only because they want to help people, but because its hazard system is a universal one when it comes to providing aid in natural disasters.
WEB EXTRA: Nick Holloway discusses helping out in Florida following Hurricane Ian
They are there to support and bolster ongoing efforts including cleanup and search and rescue.
“We all experience disasters from time to time and right now, Florida is experiencing a significant disaster,“ Holloway told MTN News.
Holloway and his team are going to be in Florida for a total of 14 days. They are currently on day two.
MTN News also confirmed that 20 hotshot firefighters from the Flathead National Forest have been mobilized to help with Hurricane Ian relief.
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