Blog

Main Content

Update 2: Closely Watching Lee & Katia

(Entrada de blog en español / Spanish blog post)

Through our regional offices in Atlanta, New York and Texas, we continue to closely monitor tropical storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic. While it is still too early to know if Katia will pose a threat to the U.S., we are in touch with all of our East Coast states in the event Katia does track toward us in the coming days.

Meanwhile, residents in coastal and inland areas around the Gulf of Mexico should continue to closely monitor tropical storm Lee because the storm is approaching Southeastern Louisiana with heavy rains and strong gusty winds -- and could bring tornadoes along with it. For the latest severe weather watches/warnings in your area, visit the National Weather Service at weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your phone.

The National Weather Service forecasts that Tropical Storm Lee will produce between 10 - 15 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches in isolated areas. With this heavy amount of rain, flooding is likely to occur, so here are some flood terms and safety tips to remember:
 
  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
  • Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flooded areas – it only takes six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult and two feet to move a vehicle.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk, follow the instructions of local officials, and if they give the order to evacuate - evacuate.

The National Weather Service also forecasts areas along the Gulf Coast where isolated tornadoes associated with tropical storm Lee may occur as the storm moves through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the far western Florida Panhandle. Here's a reminder of tornado terms and safety tips:
 

  • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
  • A tornado warning is when a tornado is actually occurring, take shelter immediately.
  • We urge all individuals in the region to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio and their local news for updates and directions provided by their local officials.
  • Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning:
  • Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
  • If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.

With the tropical storm watches and warnings in effect along the Gulf Coast, it is critical that residents and businesses listen to the instructions of local officials, closely follow news and weather reports, find open shelters in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi if you need a place to stay and evacuate, if told to do so. Learn more on how to prepare for hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes and other hazards at Ready.gov

Irene Update 39: September 2 Recap

(Entrada de blog en español / Spanish blog post)

Paramus, NJ, August 31, 2011 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino talking with residents staying at a shelter due to Hurricane Irene. FEMA is working with state, local, territorial and tribal partners to assess damages in states affected by Hurricane Irene.
Paramus, NJ, August 31, 2011 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino talking with residents staying at a shelter due to Hurricane Irene. FEMA is working with state, local, territorial and tribal partners to assess damages in states affected by Hurricane Irene.

Prattsville, NY, August 31, 2011 -- Disaster survivors congregate outside a mobile disaster recovery center as they apply for federal disaster assistance. FEMA is providing assistance to individuals and business owners in New York affected by the flooding from Irene.
Prattsville, NY, August 31, 2011 -- Disaster survivors congregate outside a mobile disaster recovery center as they apply for federal disaster assistance. FEMA is providing assistance to individuals and business owners in New York affected by the flooding from Irene.

The administration, coordinated through FEMA, is committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear to support the states and territories that have been affected by Hurricane Irene. FEMA, through our regional offices in Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, New York City, NY, Atlanta, GA, and our Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, have been in close contact and coordination with the states and territories that have been affected.

Over the past several days, President Obama has declared major disaster declarations for the states of North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Vermont and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and emergency declarations for North Carolina, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, making available federal resources to support response efforts. Prior to Irene's making landfall on the East Coast Saturday, FEMA deployed teams and resources along the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.

In advance of Irene moving through the territories earlier last week, FEMA deployed teams to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate directly with local officials on the ground. At the direction of President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA continues to work with our federal, state, territorial, tribal and local partners, as well as voluntary organizations, the private sector, and others to respond to the aftermath of Irene. The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support these territories, states, families and communities.

Friday, September 2

  • Today, President Obama has amended the existing emergency declaration for Connecticut due to Irene to include individual assistance for residents, which could include temporary housing, repairs, and medical, dental and funeral expenses, personal property and transportation. Residents and businesses in those areas may apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
  • Federal, state and tribal personnel continue preliminary damage assessments in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut and Maine. These assessments are designed to give the governor of each state a better picture of damages, and to determine if a request for further federal support is needed.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is coordinating with state partners to provide post-storm response and recovery safety and health hazard information to key stakeholders in local, state and federal agencies as well as the private sector. One of OSHA's primary initial focuses has been to prevent injuries associated with electric power restoration; the agency has been working closely with local utilities and their mutual aid partners.
  • FEMA conducts conference calls with congressional delegations from the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses and FEMA Authorizers and Appropriators to provide updates on ongoing federal response and recovery to Irene.
  • In North Carolina and Puerto Rico, Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open. These are centers where disaster survivors can meet one-on-one with representatives from state, local, federal and voluntary agencies to learn about disaster assistance programs. As residents continue to return to their homes, more centers will be opening. For more information on locations and hours, contact your local emergency management.
  • President Obama amends the major disaster declaration for the state of New York to make individual assistance available to individuals affected in Clinton, Montgomery, Orange, Rockland, Saratoga, Suffolk, Sullivan and Warren counties. The declaration was also amended to make Public Assistance available for Kings County. This amendment makes available assistance for emergency work and the repair and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.
  • As of noon, more than 30,600 disaster survivors across North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Puerto Rico have registered for assistance.

See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.
 

What We’re Watching: 9/2/11

Every Friday, we do a “What We’re Watching” blog as we look ahead to the weekend. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

Carolina, Puerto Rico, September 1, 2011 -- Carlos Otero (left) with Ramon Otero (right) at the Carolina Municipal Emergency Management Agency helping with the distribution of blue tarps. FEMA is currently in a joint effort with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency to distribute blue tarps for affected residents to different municipalities in Puerto Rico.
Carolina, Puerto Rico, September 1, 2011 -- Carlos Otero (left) with Ramon Otero (right) at the Carolina Municipal Emergency Management Agency helping with the distribution of blue tarps. FEMA is currently in a joint effort with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency to distribute blue tarps for affected residents to different municipalities in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Irene Recovery
We continue to support the states and territories affected by Irene, as the focus of the emergency management community begins to shift from response to recovery. To date, President Obama has made federal disaster assistance available to individuals and business owners in eligible counties in Puerto Rico, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. In several other states, we continue to support state, local and tribal response efforts through a federal emergency declaration as we work with our partners to complete damage assessments (this blog post explains federal assistance before, during and after a hurricane).

Those individuals and business owners in eligible counties can apply for assistance today by visiting Disasterassistance.gov/ (or m.fema.gov on their phone), calling 800-621-3362, or going to a disaster recovery center in your area. We’ll continue to provide updates regarding our role, highlighting how we continue to work with our partners in the affected areas.


Developing Tropical Systems
As we said on the blog earlier today, we continue to monitor the developing systems in the Atlantic. Check out the blog post for specifics on what we’re doing and how you can stay safe if you live in an area that may be affected by tropical storm Lee or Hurricane Katia.


Kicking Off National Preparedness Month
In case you missed it, Administrator Fugate blogged yesterday about kicking off National Preparedness Month, encouraging you to share your preparedness tips with us and others. In addition to the Administrator’s visit to New York City, kick off events were held in many cities around the U.S. At our regional office in Chicago, Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez started National Preparedness Month with this video:




All month long, we’ll have blog posts devoted to emergency preparedness, so check back for more updates. In the meantime, visit community.fema.gov to join the National Preparedness Month coalition and get tools to help you share emergency preparedness in your school, workplace, home, or business.

Closely Watching Lee & Katia

As our recovery efforts in the states and territories affected by Irene continue, we’re closely monitoring tropical storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic. While Katia is currently not a threat to the U.S., those in coastal and inland areas around the Gulf of Mexico should closely monitor tropical storm Lee. Forecasts from the National Weather Service are calling for heavy rains and potential flooding and flash flooding in areas affected by Lee, so make sure you’re taking steps to keep your family safe:

  • Don’t put yourself at risk, follow the instructions of local officials, and if they give the order to evacuate - evacuate.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flooded areas – it only takes six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult and two feet to move a vehicle.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

While it’s still too early to tell exactly where Lee will make the most impact, here’s a reminder about flooding terminology in case your area may experience heavy rainfall:
 

  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
  • Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

We’ve deployed an Incident Management and Assistance Team is to Louisiana to assist the state with coordination, and a FEMA liaison officer has been deployed to the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness emergency operation center. In coordination with states, additional liaisons will be deployed to other states and additional assistance will be made available, as needed.

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 mobile.weather.gov on your phone) for the latest severe weather watches/warnings in your area.

News of the Day: Inclusive Planning for Irene

Author: 

Here at FEMA we emphasize the importance of including the whole community in disaster planning, response and recovery. This goes beyond engaging our counterparts at the federal, state, local and tribal levels – it also means including those groups who have traditionally been overlooked or labeled as “too difficult” to include in our emergency plans.

As Administrator Fugate says, emergency managers need to plan for the real, diverse makeup of our communities - and not just the easy scenarios. Here are a few highlights of our efforts to meet the needs of the whole community related to Hurricane Irene:

  • Before Irene made landfall, Disability Integration Specialists were reaching out to independent living centers, protection and advocacy agencies and other disability advocacy groups to ensure close coordination as they prepared.
  • Durable medical equipment and consumable medical supplies were prepositioned in distribution centers if states requested these resources to assist survivors to maintain health, safety and independence.
  • We continue to coordinate with local and state disability services and advocacy groups, assisting with guidance on inclusive transition into recovery from Hurricane Irene’s impact.
  • Representatives from the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination continue to staff the National Response Coordination Center around the clock to provide guidance to states on disability issues. These potential issues range from accessible transportation and general population shelter accommodation issues to emerging recovery issues.

As we continue our recovery efforts in states affected by Hurricane Irene, I also wanted to share a story about a family in Milford, Conn. who adequately prepared their home and family for a potential power outage from Hurricane Irene. They made sure to take precautions and have backup systems in place in case their home lost electricity, which could have adverse affects on their daughter’s mobility and means of communication as well as the needs of other family members.

And with the official kickoff to National Preparedness Month yesterday, I encourage you to take the first steps to be prepared for any disaster. Visit Ready.gov for more information on getting prepared.

Connecticut: Assessing Damage from Irene

Author: 

Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley, right speaks to State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Mangement and Homeland Security Director William Hackett.
Hartford, CT, August 29, 2011 -- Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley, right speaks to State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Mangement and Homeland Security Director William Hackett, left, after a meeting with Governor Malloy.

Today, FEMA and state teams continue preliminary damage assessments in Connecticut to determine the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. These on-the-ground assessment teams follow aerial assessments earlier this week that gave Connecticut Governor Malloy a better sense of the damages to the state.

During these damage assessments, as it is with all phases of emergency management, FEMA is part of a team led by state, county and local emergency officials gathering information on the damage caused by this storm. Those assessments will be used by the state to prepare a request from the Governor to the President for more federal assistance. (See our past blog post for a full explanation of this process.)

As of today, reports show a significant number of individuals and businesses are still without power in parts of Connecticut (check out this blog post about the Department of Energy's role in supporting critical energy infrastructure). At the height of the storm, more than 1,500 people were in 74 Red Cross shelters throughout the state. FEMA has ordered more than 760,000 meals ready to eat and more than 500,000 bottles of waters to supplement state response efforts, if needed. These federal efforts were done as part of the President’s emergency declaration for Connecticut last week. The assessments, yesterday and today, will help the state determine the number of residences and businesses affected by Irene.

As Deputy Administrator Serino said on a visit to Connecticut earlier this week, "FEMA will be here to support survivors and the affected states – even after the national media has shifted its focus away from Irene."

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, left, shows FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino a map of areas impacted by Hurricane Irene
Hartford, CT, August 30, 2011 -- Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, left, shows FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino a map of areas impacted by Hurricane Irene during Serino's visit to the state's Emergency Operations Center.

Irene Update 38: September 1 Recap

The administration, coordinated through FEMA, is committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear to support the states and territories that have been affected by Hurricane Irene. FEMA, through our regional offices in Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, New York City, NY, Atlanta, GA, and our Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, have been in close contact and coordination with the states and territories that have been affected.

Over the past several days, President Obama has declared major disaster declarations for the states of North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Vermont and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and emergency declarations for North Carolina, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, making available federal resources to support response efforts. Prior to Irene's making landfall on the East Coast Saturday, FEMA deployed teams and resources along the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.

In advance of Irene moving through the territories earlier last week, FEMA deployed teams to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate directly with local officials on the ground. At the direction of President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA continues to work with our federal, state, territorial, tribal and local partners, as well as voluntary organizations, the private sector, and others to respond to the aftermath of Irene. The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support these territories, states, families and communities.

Thursday, September 1

  • President Obama declares a major disaster declaration for Vermont, making additional federal assistance available to individuals and businesses. Residents and businesses in declared areas, who have disaster-related losses not covered by insurance, are encouraged to register for assistance. Residents and businesses may apply online at Disasterassistance.gov/ or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, orby calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is in New York City to meet with local and state partners to be briefed on response and recovery efforts and to join city leaders to help kick off National Preparedness Month, which starts today.
  • More than 4,000 National Guard personnel, activated by Governors of the affected states, continue to assist states with response efforts. In those states already being affected by the hurricane, National Guard forces are assisting state and local authorities as they begin performing cleanup, communication, and search and rescue missions. The National Guard Bureau's Crisis Management Element has been activated.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services' Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) remains deployed to Vermont. This HHS teams is specially trained to provide emergency health and medical support to medical facilities such as hospitals and health centers. In coordination with affected states, other federal medical teams have been demobilized. · The U.S. Forest Service continues to support Vermont with a chainsaw team to cut and remove debris from blocked roadways and other areas.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers information on special tax law provisions that may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area. · In coordination with FEMA, the U.S. Postal Service is placing disaster assistance information in postal facilities in affected areas.
  • FEMA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urge disaster survivors who are returning to their homes and are considering repairs to be aware of the potential of scams and fraudulent contractors.
  • In Puerto Rico, seven Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open. These are centers where disaster survivors can meet one-on-one with representatives from state, local, federal and voluntary agencies to learn about disaster assistance programs. To date in Puerto Rico, more than 2,500 disaster survivors have visited DRCs. As of 3 p.m., more than 11,300 survivors of Hurricane Irene in Puerto Rico have registered for FEMA assistance.· As of 3 p.m., more than 10,000 disaster survivors across North Carolina, New Jersey and New York have registered for assistance. Residents and businesses may apply online at Disasterassistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
  • FEMA conducts conference calls with congressional delegations from the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses and FEMA Authorizers and Appropriators to provide updates on ongoing federal response and recovery to Irene.

See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.

Kicking Off National Preparedness Month

Author: 

This year has shown us that disasters can strike anywhere, and can often come unexpectedly. This year alone, we’ve seen historic flooding along many rivers, deadly tornadoes in several states, a hurricane hit the East Coast (including New England), and recently, even an earthquake in Virginia. So as we kick off National Preparedness Month, I have an important question for you – are you ready?

In the past few weeks, I’ve been doing media interviews, telling folks what FEMA’s doing and stressing the importance of getting your family prepared for an emergency. And this morning, I kicked off National Preparedness Month with an event in New York City, with Joe Bruno, Director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

Administrator Craig Fugate (left) speaks with New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner, Joseph Bruno, at an event in Times Square to kick off the start of National Preparedness Month.
New York, NY, September 1, 2011 -- Administrator Craig Fugate (left) speaks with New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner, Joseph Bruno, at an event in Times Square to kick off the start of National Preparedness Month.

So if you haven’t had a chance yet, I encourage you to take three simple steps so you can be better prepared before a disaster strikes. I’ve said them a lot lately, but I’ll say it again here:

  • Make a plan – Getting in touch after a disaster and making sure loved ones are OK is vital to every survivor. Make sure your family knows how they would get in touch after an emergency, even if cell phone service is down. And decide on a safe meeting location where you could meet up, in case you are separated.
  • Get a kit – Ensure that you and your family (including pets) has an emergency supply kit that can sustain you for at least 72 hours. Some commonly forgotten items include prescription medicines, important documents, and items for your pets. (A full list of items we suggest for your kit is on Ready.gov)
  • Be informed - Know the disasters that are more likely to occur in your community, and take advantage of local resources to make sure you have the latest information. Sign up for your city or state’s emergency alert notifications (if available), and know where could find local news reports after a disaster.

I’ve told you my advice - now it’s your turn. Tell us how you’re getting your family, neighborhood or community better prepared. Share your tips on getting your family involved with practicing your emergency plan, or some of the most useful items you’ve added in your emergency kit.

And if you haven’t already, join us and become a National Preparedness Month coalition member. You’ll get access to tools to help promote preparedness in your home, workplace, or community, and you’ll be able to collaborate with the over 6,000 coalition members to see how they’re getting the word out.

I look forward to hearing how you’re taking strides to make America a safer, more prepared nation.

Tropical Activity Continues in the Atlantic

As we continue our recovery efforts in those states affected by Irene, we’re closely monitoring several areas of tropical activity – Hurricane Katia (to the southeast of Puerto Rico) and “Invest 93 L”, which is currently swirling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Through our regional offices in New York, N.Y., Atlanta, Ga., Denton, Texas, and our Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, we continue to coordinate closely with our federal, state and local partners in monitoring the storms. Although it’s too early to tell what the path and strength of these storms will be, those in coastal or inland areas should watch these systems closely and make sure they’re taking steps to get prepared.

Hurricane season lasts until November 30, so remember to visit Ready.gov/hurricanes for information on keeping your family safe before, during and after a hurricane. We will continue to provide updates about our role on our blog, but remember to visit Hurricanes.gov (or hurricanes.gov/mobile) for the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

Pages

Back to Top