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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Sunday, November 14, 2010

With Hurricane Warnings In Effect For Parts Of The East Coast, FEMA Urges All Residents To Be Prepared


Residents Should Follow the Instructions of Local Officials and Visit Ready.gov to Prepare for Hurricanes and Severe Weather
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Release Number: HQ-10-166
» En EspaƱol
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Hurricane Earl moves toward the East Coast of the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking aggressive actions to prepare for the storm and is coordinating closely with state and local officials along the East Coast to help support their response as needed.  FEMA is also encouraging all East Coast residents to take steps now to prepare for possible severe weather in the coming days.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Earl is currently a Category 3 hurricane, and a hurricane warning has been issued for the North Carolina coast from Bogue Inlet, N.C. north to the North Carolina-Virginia border.  In addition, a hurricane watch is in effect from the North Carolina-Virginia border north to Cape Henlopen, Del. and a tropical storm warning is in effect from Cape Fear, N.C. to west of Bogue Inlet N.C.  As the storm moves closer, FEMA is closely coordinating.
Local officials in North Carolina have issued mandatory evacuations for visitors to Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Islands.  As is always the case, state and local officials make decisions on issuing evacuation orders.  FEMA encourages all residents and those visiting the East Coast to pay close attention to local updates and heed evacuation orders should they be issued.
"We continue to monitor Hurricane Earl and remain in close contact with state and local officials from North Carolina to Maine to ensure they have the resources to respond if needed," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  "I encourage everyone along the eastern seaboard to visit Ready.gov and take steps now to keep their family safe and secure.  The most important thing for people to do right now is to listen to and follow the instruction of their local officials.  If you are told to evacuate, evacuate."
Information on what individuals and families can to prepare for an emergency, including flash flooding and other severe weather that frequently accompanies hurricanes, is available at www.Ready.gov.  A Spanish version of the website is available at www.Listo.gov.
Since this weekend, FEMA has been in constant contact with the White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide regular updates on the storm's developments.  Earlier today, Administrator Fugate briefed President Obama on FEMA's preparations for potential impacts of Hurricane Earl on the East Coast and New England, and close coordination with state and local officials in potentially affected states from North Carolina to Maine.  FEMA is continuing to monitor the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center, and has deployed teams to North Carolina and other East Coast states to support storm preparations as well as response and recovery efforts as needed.  FEMA has also prepositioned commodities for rapid delivery, including water, meals, tarps, blankets, generators and other essential items.

Administrator Fugate also briefed the President on the impacts from Hurricane Earl on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, both of which have had FEMA teams on the ground since the weekend supporting the Governors' efforts related to the storm.
The National Weather Service forecasts the center of Hurricane Earl will move well east and northeast of the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina by Friday morning.  Officials are closely monitoring the areas from the Carolinas to New England, and FEMA is coordinating with the Governors and local officials along the East Coast to aggressively prepare for possible severe weather.  Even if a hurricane does not make landfall, severe weather and flash floods can occur miles inland.  In addition, dangerous surf conditions and rip tides are expected along the cost, and swimmers are encouraged to follow closely the instructions of local officials and lifeguards.
FEMA has activated the National Response Coordination Center and its Regional Response Coordination Centers in all four of its regional offices in the eastern United States, located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.  FEMA has designated a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) and has staff on the ground North Carolina at the state's Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh supporting the state.
FEMA maintains life-saving and life-sustaining commodities and supplies strategically across the country to support states in emergency response, and is proactively sending additional supplies to East Coast states, in case they become needed. For example:
  • Meals for 300,000 are expected to arrive at the Incident Support Base in Fort Bragg, N.C. tomorrow, along with bottled water and generators. 
  • Commodities are also on their way to Westover, Mass., and are expected to arrive tomorrow as well.  FEMA is coordinating across the federal government to ensure commonwealth and territorial officials have the support they need.  Federal and other support includes:
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has two Disaster Medical Assistance Teams on standby in North Carolina. HHS also deployed a Regional Emergency Coordinator to the U.S. Virgin Islands and has other resources pre-positioned and ready for deployment.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) has pre-positioned Defense Coordinating Elements in the North Carolina State Emergency Operations Center and in the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in New York.  DoD also has a Defense Coordinating Officer in St. Thomas and State Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands.
  • U.S. NORTHCOM's Hurricane Hunters continue to conduct weather reconnaissance flyovers from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.  The U.S. Navy is securing their ships and equipment near Norfolk, Va. for possible high winds.
  • US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has Prime Power Support Team staff in both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
  • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Coast Guard assets are alert and prepared to help in search and rescue efforts.
  • American Red Cross has personnel on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
FEMA also continues to monitor Tropical Storm Fiona, which according to the National Weather Service, is expected to pass north of the Northern Leeward Islands today.
The National Weather Service remains the source of official severe weather watches and warnings, including flash flooding which can take only a few minutes to develop in the case of heavy rains.
FEMA encourages all individuals in the region to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for severe weather updates, and to follow the directions provided by their local officials.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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