UPDATE: As the C-17 was on the tarmac and ready to take off, the crew was called back and told to stand down. Their efforts were not going to be needed in the wake of Hurricane Irene. The storm passed over the East Coast and caused extensive damage (in the millions) but rescue efforts were not necessary. Members of the 129th will be sleeping at home with their families Sunday night.
The California Air National Guard is heading to the East Coast to help provide its rescue expertise to communities affected by Hurricane Irene.
In all 90 members of the 129th rescue unit will be making the trip along with two MC-130P Combat Shadow refueling aircraft.
The team left in two shift.
The 129th ent a C-17 filled with both personnel and 2 H60 Pave Hawk helicopters early Sunday morning.
The specialty of the unit is its pararescuemen who can rescue people stranded by the hurricane.
They are headed to McGuire Air Force base in New Jersey.
Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm Sunday morning.
She gave a powerful but glancing blow to the five boroughs of New York.
In all more than 4 million homes and businesses were without power as of Sunday morning. Airlines across the country canceled more than 9,000 flights this weekend from North Carolina to Boston. All flights to New York and New England were cancelled Sunday at SFO.
A total of 41 flights from SFO to the East Coast have been cancelled just Sunday, an airport duty manager said
Here are the airports that are closed Sunday:
As for Irene, she continued to roar up to New England Sunday.