Pentagon: Slow-moving hurricane to make rescues challenging

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By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Defense Department officials say the expected high winds and slow movement of Hurricane Florence as it comes ashore will make rescue efforts challenging in the flooded areas.

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Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command, says search and rescue is a top priority, but weather may prevent rescuers from getting in during the hours immediately after the storm hits.

O’Shaughnessy says there are about 7,000 U.S. military forces, including 4,000 National Guard and 3,000 active duty, currently in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment. Thousands more have been ordered to prepare to deploy if needed.

He says the magnitude of the storm may exceed the ability of the state-activated National Guard troops.