Military installations in Florida and up the Atlantic Coast are starting to return to normal after Hurricane Idalia tore through the southeastern U.S., but work for thousands of National Guardsmen on state orders is just beginning.
Spokespeople for the Navy told Military.com that commanders in the area were reporting "no significant damage to facilities or ships," and bases in Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida, were returning to normal operations by Thursday afternoon.
Rose Riley, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, told Military.com that the service has had reports of "minimal structural damage and some areas without power" but no casualties across six bases in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Lt. Caroline Leya, a spokeswoman for the Navy, said that planes that were flown out of the area are set to start returning Thursday afternoon and ships that set sail would be returning to port starting Friday.
Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Florida -- a team that includes the Florida National Guard -- has positioned 5,344 Guardsmen, 2,400 high water vehicles, 14 helicopters, 23 watercraft, and "Red Horse" heavy construction teams around the state to "provide responsive, sustained support to reduce suffering and assist in the restoration of critical services," the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, told reporters at a briefing Thursday.
Idalia made landfall on Florida's western coast Wednesday morning as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at around 125 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It proceeded to move northeast, cutting a path through southern Georgia and parts of South Carolina and North Carolina before heading out to sea in the early hours of Thursday morning as a tropical storm.
The Associated Press reported that the storm is being blamed for one death so far, and CNN, citing an analytics company, reported that the damage from Idalia is estimated to be between $12 billion and $20 billion.
Ryder said that the North Carolina National Guard activated 128 Guardsmen and has positioned them, along with 51 high water vehicles, at several armories across the state. Meanwhile, the South Carolina National Guard also activated nearly 100 Guardsmen in support of hurricane recovery, he added.
Four submarines at the base in Kings Bay remained in port but under heavy-weather mooring for the storm.
Nat Fahy, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said that bases in the Camp Lejeune area in North Carolina moved to operating with essential personnel for Thursday but noted that the area will "be through the worst of it by mid-afternoon."
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.