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Rina Update 3: Now a Tropical Storm

Earlier today, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Rina to a tropical storm, and their latest forecasts say the storm will have a limited impact on the U.S. mainland or territories. As Rina is losing its strength, we’re also closely watching another potentially developing storm in the south Caribbean.

While it’s good news that Rina isn’t expected to pose much of a threat, the current activity in the tropics is a reminder that the Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30. As we near the end of the season, hurricanes and tropical storms are likely to form in the Caribbean, and can affect both coastal and inland areas of the U.S. and its territories.

The time to get prepared is before a tropical storm or hurricane threatens your community. You and your family can get started today by visiting Ready.gov/hurricanes, and by implementing some of these simple tips:


  • Create an emergency supply kit that will sustain your family (including pets) for at least 72 hours. Your kit should include water, non-perishable food items, a flashlight, extra batteries, a hand-crank radio, any medical or prescription items you may need, and other supplies. Download the FEMA App (Apple and Android users) to check off items in your interactive emergency kit.
  • Review and practice what your family would do during an emergency. We call this an “emergency plan”, and it spells out how you and your family will stay in touch, where you would meet, and who you would contact in case disaster strikes.

Rina Update 2: Approaching Yucatan Peninsula

We continue to closely watch Hurricane Rina as it swirls in the Caribbean. Rina currently has maximum sustained winds of over 100 mph, and is forecast to approach the Yucatan Peninsula by Thursday morning.

While it is still too early to know whether Rina will affect the U.S. mainland or territories in the Caribbean, our regional offices in Atlanta, New York (responsible for supporting Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Denton, Texas are closely monitoring the storm. For the latest updates on Hurricane Rina or developing severe tropical weather, visit the National Hurricane Center online at hurricanes.gov (hurricanes.gov/mobile on your mobile device), or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs through November 30, and late October can be an active part of the season as storms tend to develop in the Caribbean. So if you haven’t already, now is the time to be prepared if you live in a coastal area or could be affected by severe tropical weather. Visit Ready.gov/hurricanes (Listo.gov para español) to learn how to prepare your home and family for a hurricane or tropical storm.

Closely Watching Hurricane Rina

Posted by: Public Affairs

We’re closely monitoring Hurricane Rina in the western Caribbean.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Rina will gradually turn toward the west over the next 48 hours, remaining in the Caribbean through Friday.

While it’s still too early to know if Rina's track will affect the U.S. mainland or our territories in the Caribbean, Rina’s development serves as a reminder that we are still in a very active hurricane season.

Here are some tips for preparing for severe tropical weather:

  • Remember to include items like a flashlight, hand-crank radio, and a solar powered cell phone charger in your emergency kit to sustain your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another (i.e., text messaging), how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov for tips on creating your family emergency plan and putting together an emergency supply kit.

And remember to follow local TV and radio reports for the latest conditions in your area, and visit the National Weather Service at weather.gov (or http://mobile.weather.gov/ on your phone) for the latest severe weather watches/warnings in your area.

Supporting Disaster Recovery in New England

Author: 

Even as the leaves change color in New England, many communities across the region are still working hard, recovering from the damage from this past season’s destructive weather.

At FEMA, we continue to work closely with our state and local partners that are still recovering from the tornadoes that swept through the Connecticut River Valley and the aftermath of tropical storm Irene. Both events affected homes, businesses and communities in all six states in the region. We continue to support individuals and communities affected by these disasters, and the recovery has come a long way, as this video shows:




Between June 1 and October 1, across New England, FEMA and the Small Business Administration has provided the following support:
 

  • 6,302 individuals and families approved for grants totaling $29,160,789
  • 434 individuals and families approved for low-interest disaster loans totaling $20,542,400
  • 52 businesses approved for low-interest disaster loans totaling $5,684,100

And as of Thursday, October 13, $4,841,388 in public assistance grants have been obligated for 416 local governments and private nonprofits. The numbers will continue to rise; our work here is far from over.

FEMA has set up offices across the region to ensure we’re working closely with our partners at the state, local and tribal levels, as well as voluntary organizations and others in the private sector. We want to ensure that every penny of assistance eligible under law reaches the communities that need them.

As New Englanders work to recover from the impact of the recent storms, FEMA continues to offer assistance and support to local and state partners across the region. We are proud partners in this recovery effort and remain committed to offer support and assistance for the remainder of the recovery effort.

For more on the ongoing recovery efforts, visit our disaster pages:

Connecticut – Tropical Storm Irene
Maine – Tropical Storm Irene
Massachusetts – Severe Storms and Tornadoes
Massachusetts – Tropical Storm Irene
Rhode Island – Tropical Storm Irene
Vermont – Tropical Storm Irene
New Hampshire – Tropical Storm Irene

One Month Out, Connecticut Recovery Continues

Dayville, CT, Brooklyn, CT, September 29, 2011 -- FEMA Community Education Specialist, Steven Klein, right, shows a Mitigation activity book to local resident Dylan Lacasse, 3, during a community education outreach event at Lowe's. FEMA specialists distributed over 200 cd's that include mitigation publications for Tropical Storm Irene.

Dayville, CT, Brooklyn, CT, September 29, 2011 -- FEMA Community Education Specialist, Steven Klein, right, shows a Mitigation activity book to local resident Dylan Lacasse, 3, during a community education outreach event at Lowe's. FEMA specialists distributed over 200 cd's that include mitigation publications for Tropical Storm Irene.

It’s been a month since President Obama’s Sept. 2 major disaster declaration for the state of Connecticut following Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA and its state partners continue to make major strides in the support of the Constitution State’s recovery.

Providing assistance & getting the word out to survivors
Our community relations teams have been canvassing the state and have visited more than 5,600 homes. Working closely with faith-based and community-based organizations, we’ve met face-to-face with nearly 16,000 people to let them know about the many resources available to them for disaster recovery. To date, our community relations teams have also facilitated a dozen local forums, answering requests from towns, congressional staffs, mayors and selectmen. These efforts have led to more than 6,000 residents registering for assistance and more than $4.3 million in aid being disbursed to disaster survivors.

Keeping the pace, we have transitioned 11 Disaster Recovery Centers into seven Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Location Outreach Centers, with one disaster recovery center open through Oct. 6. These centers allow residents and business owners to meet with SBA officials to answer their questions, explain SBA’s disaster loan program and help them complete their disaster loan application.

Meanwhile, we continue to meet one-on-one with officials from local jurisdictions to provide information and assistance regarding their damage claims. We currently have more than 80 meetings scheduled with local officials in town and city governments to share information about disaster recovery programs.

Rebuilding tips for Connecticut residents

We’re also helping survivors rebuild smarter, providing the public with tips and advice at 19 home improvement stores throughout the state. While shopping, residents can stop by a mitigation outreach table and find out how to protect their homes from future storms and disasters. Here are details about some of the upcoming mitigation events in:

Together with our partners across the emergency management team, we will continue to remain focused on making the state’s recovery a speedy and thorough one.

In Photos: Disaster Recovery Efforts Across the U.S.

Many communities across the country continue to recover from natural disasters - and members of the emergency management team are working tirelessly to support the affected individuals and communities. The photos below show this team in action in the past week – a team that includes federal, state and local government agencies, voluntary and faith-based organizations, the private sector, and concerned citizens.

For more FEMA photos, visit our Photo Library. If you’d like to learn more about helping those recovering from a disaster, visit fema.gov/howtohelp.

State and FEMA representatives check on a survivor of Hurricane Irene in a community that was hit by high storm surge.
Hickory Point, NC, September 17, 2011 -- State and FEMA representatives check on a survivor of Hurricane Irene in a community that was hit by high storm surge.

volunteers with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief carry food
Hazleton, PA, September 17, 2011 -- Laurie Buzzard and Gwen Rudacille, volunteers with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, carry food prepared for the American Red Cross to distribute to the survivors of tropical storm Lee.

FEMA Community Relations and Individual Assistance specialists work with deaf and hard of hearing survivors at a Disaster Recovery Center
Bastrop, TX, September 17, 2011 -- FEMA Community Relations and Individual Assistance specialists work with deaf and hard of hearing survivors at a Disaster Recovery Center in Bastrop, TX. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents affected by recent fires.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino meet with residents
S. Royalton, VT, September 16, 2011 -- Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino meet with residents at the South Royalton Fire Department to answer questions regarding flooding caused by tropical storm Irene. FEMA is providing funds for both individual assistance and public assistance in Vermont.

a FEMA individual assistance specialist talks to a survivor about available recovery programs
Briarcliff, TX, September 16, 2011 -- Gary Grabow, a FEMA individual assistance specialist talks to a survivor about available recovery programs in a disaster recovery center. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents of the areas affected by the recent fires.

FEMA community relations specialists review damaged properties.
Cayey, PR, September 16, 2011 -- FEMA community relations specialists review damaged properties. FEMA community relations teams are reaching out in affected communities to get information about disaster assistance to Hurricane Irene survivors.

FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas J. McCool speaks with resident
Duryea, PA, September 16, 2011 -- FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas J. McCool speaks with resident Johanna Yachna about her FEMA application. She and her sister were flooded out of their home after tropical storm Lee caused extensive flooding.

FEMA Community Relations Specialists visit disaster survivors door-to-door
Lambertville, NJ, September 15, 2011 -- Disaster survivor Betty McCoy (center) speaks to Patricia Selby (left) and Annabelle Townson (right), FEMA community relations specialists. FEMA Community Relations Specialists visited disaster survivors "door-to-door" in Lambertville after much of the city was flooded due to the effects of Hurricane Irene on August 28.

Disaster survivor Brian Keyes listens to FEMA Community Relations Specialists Patricia Selby and Annabelle Townson explain FEMA assistance programs.
Lambertville, NJ, September 15, 2011 -- Disaster survivor Brian Keyes listens to FEMA Community Relations Specialists Patricia Selby and Annabelle Townson explain FEMA assistance programs as they hand out FEMA fliers to disaster survivors "door-to-door" in Lambertville.

Kevin L. Hannes, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, inspects an emergency relief kit.
Bastrop, TX, September 14, 2011 -- Kevin L. Hannes, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, inspects an emergency relief kit being given to survivors by the American Red Cross at the Disaster Recovery Center. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents affected by recent fires.

Iris Delgado from the National Flood Insurance Program provides information about the program to a disaster survivor at an outreach activity
Vega Alta, PR, September 14, 2011 -- Iris Delgado from the National Flood Insurance Program provides information about the program to a disaster survivor at an outreach activity. Having flood insurance is another way FEMA encourages people to get prepared before a disaster strikes.

Cleanup continues along Front Street in the Shipoke neighborhood.
Harrisburg, PA, September 14, 2011 -- Cleanup continues along Front Street in the Shipoke neighborhood after the remnants of tropical storm Lee dumped 13 inches of rain and flooded homes up and down this street. FEMA is providing assistance to individuals and business owners in several Pennsylvania counties due to flooding from the remnants of tropical storm Lee.

Members of state and local government and qualified non-profit agencies attend a Public Assistance Applicant briefing.
Old Saybrook, CT, September 14, 2011 -- Members of state and local government and qualified non-profit agencies attend a Public Assistance Applicant briefing. The briefings are conducted with Connecticut's Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and FEMA to give local officials information about available assistance from the state and federal governments.

Temporary Housing Units begin to arrive in North Carolina.
Rocky Mount, NC, September 13, 2011 -- Temporary Housing Units begin to arrive in North Carolina. FEMA supplies these units for up to 18 months to families who cannot return to their homes and have no other temporary housing.

One of the many bridges in Vermont destroyed by torrential rains and flash floods in August and September.
Barnard area, VT, September 12, 2011 -- One of the many bridges in Vermont destroyed by torrential rains and flash floods in August and September. Tropical storm Irene dumped as much as 11 inches of rain in some areas of Vermont. The state of Vermont is working with FEMA to repair bridges and roads.

Connecticut: Recovery Continues From Irene

When Tropical Storm Irene blew through Connecticut, FEMA was well prepared to help the state and disaster survivors get their recovery underway as needed. Together with state and local officials, preliminary damage assessments were quickly wrapped up and federal assistance was approved for individuals and business owners in eight counties across the state.

City crews and residents clean up in neighborhoods after Hurricane Irene battered the Connecticut shoreline.
Milford, CT, September 1, 2011 --September 1, 2011--City crews and residents clean up in neighborhoods after Hurricane Irene battered the Connecticut shoreline.

While FEMA’s operations have just moved into our Joint Field Office in Windsor, Ct., the team has already:

  • Opened nine disaster recovery centers, providing places for disaster survivors to meet face to face with federal and state experts and ask any questions related to their recovery.
  • Dispatched 90 community relations representatives into the field, telling those in hard-hit areas about the importance of applying for disaster assistance.
  • Scheduled nine Public Assistance briefings this week, where local officials and community leaders learn more about the recovery resources available to them.
  • Had 19 inspectors on the ground, assessing damages and meeting with survivors.
  • Prepared English, Spanish and Vietnamese fliers to be distributed to the appropriate communities encouraging affected individuals to apply for assistance.

To date, more than 3,000 residents have registered for disaster assistance. We’ve also been working with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, recognized tribal nations of the state, as recovery efforts continue.

FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Steve DeBlasio talks to local residents about the process for applying for federal assistance at a Help Fair organized by the city, held at East Haven High School. The state will now be receiving federal assistance due to the President declaring a major disaster declaration due to the impact of Hurricane Irene.
East Haven, CT, September 3, 2011 --FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Steve DeBlasio talks to local residents about the process for applying for federal assistance at a Help Fair organized by the city, held at East Haven High School. The state will now be receiving federal assistance due to the President declaring a major disaster declaration due to the impact of Hurricane Irene.

People in Connecticut’s eight counties are now applying for assistance that may cover expenses such as:

  • lodging because of temporary relocation during the flooding,
  • repairs done to homes damaged by Irene and
  • transportation costs such as renting a car because a household’s personal car was flooded by the storm.

All along the way, officials have not only toured storm damaged communities but met with storm survivors. Immediately after the storm struck, FEMA Deputy Administrator Serino toured the state and early last week Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and other elected officials toured areas affected by Tropical Storm Irene and visited with survivors.

For more updates on ongoing recovery efforts in Connecticut, visit the disaster page.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, (blue shirt) talks with local residents. Napolitano was joined by members of the Congressional delegation as well as State and Local Elected Officials. Governor Malloy, is to left of Napolitano. President Obama issued a major disaster delcaration for the State of Connecticut, allowing federal funds to help communities recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Also picutred are US Senator Richard Blumentahal, left, US Senator Joseph Lieberman, center, and US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and local first responders.
East Haven, CT, September 5, 2011 --Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, (blue shirt) talks with local residents. Napolitano was joined by members of the Congressional delegation as well as State and Local Elected Officials. Governor Malloy, is to left of Napolitano. Also picutred are US Senator Richard Blumentahal, left, US Senator Joseph Lieberman, center, and US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and local first responders.

Video: Vermont Disaster Shows Flood Dangers & Importance of Evacuation Orders

Author: 

We continue to support the recovery efforts of our state, local and tribal partners from the effects of Irene and the remnants of tropical storm Lee and the historic flooding that affected not just those in the Northeast, but millions up and down the eastern seaboard.

I wanted to share a video highlighting how dangerous and devastating flooding and flash flooding can be. Tragically, flooding and flash flooding claim lives every year, and this video reinforces the importance of listening to local officials if they give evacuation orders. Listen as survivors and first responders share their experiences and lessons learned:
 

I encourage you to visit Ready.gov/floods to learn how you can create a family emergency plan. And for more on our ongoing support in the state of Vermont, visit the disaster page.

Wildfires, Floods & Tropical Weather: Update on Our Role

Between wildfires in Texas, remnants of tropical storm Lee causing heavy rains and flooding in the northeast, and developing tropical storm systems in the Atlantic, here’s an overview of what we’re doing to continue supporting states – whether they are responding to current disasters or preparing for the next one.

Texas Wildfires

  • We continue to closely monitor and work with states affected by recent wildfires. Last night, we approved an additional Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) for the state of Texas, raising the total to nine for this series of wildfires. As we said in previous updates, the Administration has multiple Fire Management Assistance Grants for Texas in the last several days, and 54 so far in 2011, making federal funds available to reimburse eligible costs associated with efforts to combat the fires. Two FMAGs were approved yesterday to support the firefighting efforts of first responders and firefighters in California as well.
  • In Texas, we are actively working with state and local officials to conduct damage assessments and to identify areas where additional federal assistance may be warranted. FEMA and the state have been operating an open Joint Field Office in Austin since the major disaster declaration was announced this past July. Our Incident Management Assistance Team continues to work with state officials in Austin to further assist with coordination.

For more information on our role, visit yesterday’s wildfire update and to get prepared for wildfires, visit Ready.gov/wildfires.


Remnants of Tropical Storm Lee


FEMA Applicant Services Program Specialist, Mandy McNatt, right, works on a computer with Disaster Recovery Center lead, Doug Kohler, at a center set up to assist local residents impacted by Tropical Storm Irene.
Orange, CT, September 8, 2011 -- FEMA Applicant Services Program Specialist, Mandy McNatt, right, works on a computer with Disaster Recovery Center lead, Doug Kohler, at a center set up to assist local residents impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. Disaster Recovery Centers have been opened up in areas throughout the state to offer information about programs available to local residents.

As we continue working closely to support states’ recovery efforts from the effects of Irene, we are also supporting state, tribal and local response operations from the remnants of tropical storm Lee. Through our regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, we continue to be in constant contact and coordination with our federal, state and tribal emergency management partners to support states that are being affected by the ongoing flooding.
 

  • Last night, President Obama signed emergency declarations for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the state of New York as a result of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, making federal assistance available to save lives and protect property and public health and safety. (We recently posted a blog with details on federal assistance before, during and after severe tropical weather.)
  • We currently have emergency response personnel on the ground in Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and other Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, that were mobilized in response to Hurricane Irene and earlier disasters, who are actively supporting state and local response efforts.
  • We also have liaison officers in Mid-Atlantic state emergency operations centers and continues to be in constant coordination with the National Weather Service, other federal partners and state emergency management agency partners across the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast.

There are areas from the Mid-Atlantic, into upstate New York and southern New England where flooding, or flash flooding may occur or continue. As we continue to monitor the flooding in along the east coast we urge residents to follow the instructions of local officials. For more flood safety tips, see this past blog post.

Tropical Storm Maria

We continue to monitor Tropical Storm Maria’s path and activity in the east Atlantic. In coordination with local officials, we have pre-positioned resources including personnel, in several locations to help with emergency response coordination and other needs. We have deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist territory and local authorities in coordination efforts; and we already have a Joint Field Office open in Puerto Rico due to our ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene.

While it’s too soon to know if Maria will bring additional impacts to portions of the U.S. mainland, we are closely monitoring the storm through our regional office in Atlanta and in touch with all of the states up and down the East Coast.

Going into this weekend, we urge residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to take steps now in case Tropical Storm Maria has an effect in the islands. Tropical storms can bring high winds and heavy rains, so listen to local officials and follow their instructions, which could include sheltering in place.

For additional information, tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, visit Ready.gov (or in Spanish at Listo.gov).

Update 4: Closely Watching Lee, Katia, Maria, & Nate

The peak of hurricane season is here, and we’re closely watching the effects of tropical storm Lee’s remnants, Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic, and the newly formed tropical storms – Nate and Maria.

As we continue working closely to support the states recovering from the impacts of Irene, we are also working closely with them to support state and local response operations from Lee as a major flood threat continues. Here’s an overview of what we’re doing:

  • We have liaison officers in many Mid-Atlantic state emergency operations centers who are in constant coordination with the National Weather Service, other federal partners and state emergency management agency partners across the Mid-Atlantic states and New England.
  • A FEMA liaison is being deployed to the Broome County Emergency Operations Center in New York, to ensure that the state has the needed resources to respond to the ongoing flood threat in that area.
  • We have commodities (such as cots, blankets, food and water) that were prepositioned in advance of Hurricane Irene that can be sent out if the state requires additional commodities. In New York, 450 cots were on hand and turned over to the state and delivered to the Binghamton University shelter.

As the remnants of Lee move from the Mid-Atlantic into upstate New York and southern New England, additional heavy rainfall is likely in these locations before the entire system slowly dissipates by the end of the week. If you’re in an area that may be impacted, don’t put yourself at risk; follow the instructions of local officials. (More flood safety tips)

Tropical Storm Maria
In the Atlantic, tropical storm Maria is forecast to move further westward. According to the National Hurricane Center, those in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico should closely monitor the progress of the storm. We are deploying an Incident Management Assistance Team to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist territory and local authorities in coordination efforts; and we already have a Joint Field Office open in Puerto Rico due to our ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene.

Nate and Katia
While tropical storm Nate (in the Gulf of Mexico) and Hurricane Katia (in the Atlantic) pose no immediate threat to the U.S. mainland or territories, we continue to closely monitor their progress. History reminds us that tropical storm systems can change paths with little warning, so those in coastal or inland areas should take steps to get prepared. Hurricane season lasts until November 30, so take steps now to make sure your family and property are safe – visit Ready.gov/hurricanes for more information.

And for the latest on all the developing tropical systems, visit Hurricanes.gov or Hurricanes.gov/mobile on your phone.

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