The National Weather Service has issued tornado watches and warnings in several parts of the Southeast. People living in parts of the Mississippi Valley, Lower Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley have been experiencing tornadoes, widespread damaging winds and hail since last night and conditions are forecast to continue today.
FEMA, through our regional offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, is closely monitoring the weather situation, including tornadoes, affecting parts of the Southeast, and has been in touch with state and local officials. We’re also in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
When natural disasters like these tornados strike, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.
Although there have been no requests for federal assistance at this time, FEMA stands ready to support the states if needed as part of the emergency management team.
We’d like to remind everyone that could be affected by severe weather to follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio or TV stations for updated disaster response and evacuation information.
We urge everyone to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local news for severe weather updates and warnings, and follow the direction provided by their local officials.
As severe weather approaches, keep in mind these safety tips:
- Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information, and follow the guidance of your local officials.
- Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
- Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
- After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
Finally, everyone should become familiar with the terms used to identify a tornado hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe tornado hazards include the following:
- Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
- Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
For more information on tornado preparedness tips, visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to find out how you can protect your family during emergencies.
For additional updates from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross, you can follow their Twitter and Facebook pages:
On Facebook: Alabama Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross
On Twitter: @AlabamaEMA, @AlabamaRedCross