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Osceola County officials preparing for high-water rescues ahead of hurricane season

WESH Orlando 3/24/2023 Megan Mellado
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It may still be dry season, but Osceola County is preparing for the next time a big hurricane hits, and first responders need to rescue people from rising waters.

The sheriff's office has new trucks to help them get stranded people.

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Hundreds of people had to be rescued from their flooded homes during and after Hurricane Ian.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office used airboats to pick up families stranded on elevated parts of their properties and had the National Guard assist with their high-water rescue units.

Sheriff Marco Lopez says this upcoming hurricane season, they'll be better prepared.

"One of our majors was like, 'You know what, we had water issues here, we had flooding, let's convert these and utilize these,'" Lopez said.

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He says two military-grade vehicles seized in previous operations are being refurbished as high-water rescue trucks.

"We'll let the National Guard know if we get overwhelmed or need additional help of 5 tons. If someone else needs help elsewhere, and we're under control here with the vehicles we have, they can go send help to the people really in need," Lopez said.

Lopez says these trucks won't only be used in Osceola County but in other counties as well if they need the assistance.

"We (are) just making sure we aren't a burden on our neighbors and make sure that we can help anyone in surrounding counties or in the state that needs any type of evacuation help, have the tools they need, and not have to send them our way," Lopez said.

He says the trucks will be deployed to areas known to flood ahead of storms just in case.

Hurricane season is set to begin on June 1. It runs through Nov. 30.

BELOW: WESH 2 First Warning Meteorologist Eric Burris discusses the 2023 hurricane forecast

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