As a result of Friday’s severe weather that struck many parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, President Obama issued emergency disaster declarations for all counties within the states of West Virginia and Ohio in response to requests from Ohio Governor John Kasich and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities who suffered damage as a result of these severe storms and for those who are in areas without power.
Please remember to check on your neighbors and stay in touch with friends and family who may be impacted by the heat and loss of power and take necessary safety precautions due to extreme heat. Use the buddy system and if you don’t have air conditioning or power, contact local officials for information on cooling centers in your area.
For everyone affected by extreme heat, here’s a short video on staying cool in extreme heat:
If you don’t have power and you’re using a generator, always use it outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents; you never want to use it indoors or in enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces and basements. Also, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home and test it to ensure its working. There are additional generator safety tips available from the U.S. Fire Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In addition to the extreme heat, today’s forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for another round of scattered thunderstorms capable of producing large hail and damaging winds across parts of the Dakotas through the Midwest to the Ohio Valley and Delmarva Sunday night and Monday. We urge you to monitor weather conditions closely as weather patterns can change unexpectedly.
For those affected by the power outages, we know this is a difficult time for many of you and we remain committed to bringing in the necessary resources of the federal family to provide the support you need to recover. We will continue to support our federal, state, local and tribal partners in the areas already affected, as well as those areas that may be impacted by these additional storms.
The following are operational updates since yesterday:
- FEMA is strategically positioning supplies closer to impacted areas of West Virginia and Ohio. Emergency generators, needed to supply critical infrastructure such as shelters, and water are positioned in staging areas in Morgantown and Charleston, West Virginia and Columbus, Ohio to support state and local response needs.
- FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., and the Regional Response Coordination Centers in Chicago, Ill., and Philadelphia, Pa., continue to be activated to support state requests for assistance.
- FEMA has deployed incident management assistance teams and liaison officers to the state emergency operations centers in Ohio and West Virginia.
- A Mobile Emergency Response Support team and mobile communication office vehicles are en route to West Virginia to provide secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations.
- FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners including the U.S. Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service forecast offices.
- In coordination with FEMA, the Department of Energy has deployed experts to West Virginia and FEMA Headquarters in Washington D.C., and is supporting FEMA’s regional offices in Chicago, Ill., and Philadelphia, Pa.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deployed teams to Ohio to support assessments and generator installations for emergency power.
- The West Virginia National Guard is also actively engaged in a generator mission for emergency power.
For those not impacted by the severe weather, now is a good time to make sure your emergency supply kit is ready. It should include at least a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries, and other items specific to your family’s needs. To help you build your kit, download the FEMA smartphone app (Android, Apple and Blackberry devices) and use the interactive checklist.