WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott to reiterate support for the communities impacted by Tropical Storm Debby and express her condolences for the loss of life due to the storm. Yesterday, President Barack Obama spoke with Governor Scott to underscore the Administration’s commitment to working closely with state and local partners to identify any additional support the Administration can provide.
"DHS and FEMA are committed to working closely with state and local partners to identify and address needs as communities respond to and recover from this storm," said Secretary Napolitano. "I urge residents in affected areas to continue to listen to and follow the guidance and direction of their state and local officials."
The Department of Homeland Security - through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - is working with its federal, state, and local partners, and will continue to closely track severe weather conditions and forecasts for Tropical Depression Debby through the week. FEMA urges residents to be vigilant in monitoring local reports due to anticipated heavy flooding, and to follow the directions of state and local officials. At the request of the state of Florida, a FEMA liaison officer is onsite at the Florida state emergency operations center to support state response efforts. Multiple teams are on standby, ready to support the state of Florida in their response and recovery efforts if asked. FEMA is also in close contact with state officials in Georgia and South Carolina.
Along with the heavy rains, tropical systems making land fall also increase the potential for tornadoes, and FEMA is urging people in the impacted areas to monitor weather conditions by listening to their local radio and television news outlets, or by listening to NOAA Weather Radio. Flash flooding can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop and FEMA is encouraging residents to take precautions when trying to drive through flooded areas because almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles.
Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Napolitano, FEMA is continuing close, regular coordination with the leading federal agencies, state, tribal and local partners, as well as private sector groups, faith-based and voluntary organizations. FEMA encourages everyone to take steps to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency.