Northeast Ohio naval officer prepares to help with Hurricane Irma aftermath

Posted at 4:41 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 17:26:19-04

As Floridians brace for the worst, many boarding up and evacuating ahead of Hurricane Irma, our sailors and marines are making preparations of their own. 

We caught up with Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Blake Pauley vua FaceTime. Blake is a Hudson native, Ohio State grad and brother of News 5 editor, Brad.

"It's different dealing with hurricanes than the blizzards up north," Pauley said. 


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Pauley said they're loading one of five Navy ships for Hurricane relief, currently in Virginia. 

"Two hurricanes in one month? That's a lot for FEMA to handle. We got a head start on this."

Irma is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. 

"With all of the amphibious craft, helicopters, boats we have on board, that provides an asset because we have an avenue to go in there," Pauley said. 

No one is absolutely certain where Irma will go. 

"It's that up in the air feeling. Will it move out of the way, will it not?"

Like so many others, Blake told us his wife is in the process is evacuating from Jacksonville right now. Irma's winds have already reached speeds of more than 180 miles per hour. 

Armed with rescue materials and supplies, many are leaving their homes.

"But there are a lot of people that choose to stay and hunker down because they think they can wait it out, unfortunately they're not always correct. And those are the people who will need to be rescued," Pauley explained. 

The Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade assures us no matter what hits, they're all in very good hands.

"We dedicate our lives to serving the American people, but when you're overseas it's tough to see the direct impact of that sometimes. Here? In humanitarian missions? You know that these are Americans you're helping out," Pauley said.