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Posted October 11, 2018 | 4:19 PM

Florida Task Force 3 Deploys in Wake of Hurricane Michael

Fire rescue crews from Hillsborough County, Tampa, and St. Petersburg head to Panhandle on search-and-rescue mission

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue is part of a team of local agencies responding in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael, sending personnel, trucks, boats, and other search-and-rescue equipment to Florida's Panhandle.

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Florida Task Force 3 took vehicles including small boats on their mission to the Panhandle.

Florida Task Force 3 is comprised of 72 rescuers and equipment from Hillsborough County, Tampa Fire Rescue, and St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. The group left the Tampa Bay Area on Wednesday evening, hours after the Category 4 hurricane slammed into the state's northwest coast with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

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Seventy-two rescuers from three agencies make up the task force.

The task force will remain in the Apalachicola and St. Mark's River area for up to two weeks.

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Members of Florida Task Force 3 make final preparations before leaving the Tampa Bay area.

The storm developed east of the Yucatan Peninsula and rapidly moved north through the Gulf of Mexico, remaining far west of the Tampa Bay area. Locally, the hurricane brought sporadic rain squalls and caused moderate flooding in low-lying areas.

Top photo: Florida Task Force 3 members gather Wednesday evening before heading to the Panhandle.

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