FEMA Continues to Urge Residents in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Coastal Areas to Take Steps to Prepare
WASHINGTON - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners, through the FEMA Regional Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. and Caribbean Area Office, continue to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac in the eastern Caribbean Sea, and have been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and the Florida Division of Emergency Management. NOAA’s National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and tropical storm conditions are possible over these areas within 36 hours. FEMA and its federal partners urge residents of the commonwealth and territory to closely monitor the storm and to follow the direction of local officials as potential severe weather approaches.
FEMA has activated an Enhanced National Watch in Washington, DC, as well as the Regional Response Coordination Center that supports Caribbean activities, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Florida. In advance of the storm, FEMA proactively deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate with local officials and to support emergency managers should additional support be requested, or needed. Additionally, FEMA has liaisons in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency operations centers, to further strengthen coordination. These assets supplement federal resources and personnel that are staged, year-round, at FEMA's Caribbean Area Office and Caribbean Area Distribution Center located in Puerto Rico.
Today, FEMA also deployed a liaison to coordinate with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Other teams have been identified and will be mobilized as needed and requested. FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, and supplies are also available on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"FEMA continues to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and remains in close contact with state, commonwealth and territorial officials in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All residents in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands should be paying close attention to this storm and listening to their local officials for key updates and information,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “In addition to strong winds, tropical storms can also bring heavy rains and flooding. Now is the time to prepare your families, homes or businesses, so if you haven’t already, visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov to learn how."
The National Weather Service is forecasting total rain accumulations of two to four inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches possible in parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA urges residents in affected areas to avoid walking or driving through flooded areas. Be aware that water can rise rapidly and flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Don’t put yourself at risk, follow the instructions of local officials, and if they give the order to evacuate - evacuate.
As is always the case, local officials make decisions on issuing evacuation orders, so FEMA advises residents to remember to listen to the direction of their local officials, and to learn where evacuation routes and sheltering locations are located, in case evacuation orders are given.
At this time, it is still too early to know whether the storm could pose an immediate threat to the U.S. Coast. History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions, follow the direction of local officials, and visit Ready.gov to learn about a few simple steps they can take now to be prepared.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.