AUSTIN, Texas - As Tropical Storm Alex moves further inland and begins to weaken, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal, state and local partners remain vigilant and continue to monitor for any related threats of flooding or tornadoes in Texas.
On Tuesday, June 29, even before Alex made landfall, President Obama took proactive action and declared an emergency disaster for the state of Texas, freeing up vital state and local resources and enabling FEMA to coordinate federal efforts to support state and local efforts to prepare for the storm.
"We encourage Texans to remain alert," said FEMA Region VI Regional Administrator Tony Russell. "Listen to your local officials and monitor local weather updates."
Last night, Hurricane Alex made landfall in Mexico, as a Category 2 hurricane, 100 miles south of Brownsville, Texas with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. The FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Denton, Texas remains active and is coordinating the federal response to any state requests for support.
"FEMA is only one part of the nation's emergency management team," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Our first priority has always been supporting the state and local officials to make sure they have all the resources they need to keep families and communities safe, both before and after the storm made landfall. Whether you live in a region that was impacted by Alex or not, this storm was an important reminder to take steps now to get ready for hurricane season. The next disaster isn't a matter of if, but when."
Well before landfall, FEMA and our partners were taking steps to prepare, and throughout this disaster we will ensure that the state and local responders have the resources they need to accomplish their vital jobs. At the President's direction, FEMA deployed staff and commodities to the state in advance of the storm to support potential lifesaving and life sustaining activities. Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Brad Harris was designated to coordinate the federal response. He, along with members of one of FEMA's Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) and additional FEMA personnel, have been on the ground working with state officials on preparedness and response.
FEMA has staged commodities at a facility outside San Antonio in readiness to provide support for the response. This includes more than 1.1 million meals, more than 400,000 liters of water, more than 41,000 tarps and more than 100 generators, as well as other commodities such as cots, blankets and personal kits.
In addition, to prepare for the landfall:
- U.S. Northern Command had activated a U.S. Army North Defense Coordinating Office (DCO) and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) in support of operations, to provide assessment and coordination as required. DCOs and DCEs work very closely with federal, state, tribal and local officials to determine what unique Department of Defense capabilities can assist in mitigating the effects of a natural disaster.
- The American Red Cross had deployed 17 Emergency Response Vehicles (feeding trucks) to south Texas, and had also sent additional volunteers to the area, along with 2000 cots, blankets and hygiene kits to support sheltering efforts in the area. The Red Cross was prepared to support 20 post landfall shelters in South Texas and kitchen equipment was also brought into the area.
Experts are forecasting an active hurricane season, and Hurricane Alex should serve as a reminder to all those living in coastal states that now is the time to prepare in advance by having disaster kits ready to go, updating family emergency plans and becoming familiar with local storm guidance.