FEMA and Federal Partners Continue to Monitor Tropical Storm Isaac
WASHINGTON - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners, through the FEMA Regional Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, continue to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and remain in close coordination with local officials and emergency management partners in Florida, and other southeastern and Gulf Coast states. Earlier today, President Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states. Tropical storm conditions are already being experienced along the Florida Keys and the Florida East Coast.
According to NOAA’s National Weather Service advisory at 2:00 p.m., a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef and the Florida Bay. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to Indian Pass Florida including Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef; the Florida west coast and the Florida Panhandle from north of Bonita Beach, FL to Indian Pass, FL including Tampa Bay; and Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area along the North Coast on Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Monday night.
"As Tropical Storm Isaac continues towards Florida and the Gulf States, local residents need to monitor storm conditions and follow the direction of local officials," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "FEMA and its federal partners remain in close coordination with states and tribal governments across the Southeast as Tropical Storm Isaac continues to move toward Florida and the Gulf States. Teams have been deployed to Florida and states along the Gulf Coast to provide support as needed, and additional teams have been placed on alert.”
FEMA has deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to Florida and a liaison is on site at the Florida emergency operations center. A Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) team is also being deployed to support the state with secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations, and with any potential requests for assistance. An IMAT team is already on the ground in Louisiana and today, at the request of the states, FEMA is deploying IMAT teams as well as liaisons to the Alabama and Mississippi emergency operations center in advance of the storm. Other teams have been identified and will be deployed as needed and requested to southern and Gulf Coast states. At all times, 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, to support states if needed and requested. FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, has prepositioned supplies closer to potentially affected areas in Jacksonville, Fla. and Montgomery, Ala. More than 436,000 meals, 1.1 million liters of water, 2,000 cots, 4,600 blankets and other supplies are on the ground in Jacksonville and supplies will be arriving in Montgomery, Ala. today.
FEMA urges coastal residents in Florida and the Gulf Coast states to monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local news for severe weather updates and warnings, and follow instructions of state and local officials. Tropical weather systems can bring heavy rains, flooding and flash flooding, tornadoes and high winds. According to the National Weather Service, isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of Central and Southern Florida and the Florida Keys today, and flooding is likely to occur. Now is the time to prepare your family, home or business to lessen the impact of severe weather. Coastal residents are urged to ensure that you and your family have an emergency plan, including your local evacuation route, where you will go if you need to evacuate or seek shelter, family contact information and important paperwork and nearby shelter information. Also be sure to fill up your tanks with gas and get cash in case ATMs are unavailable due to power loss. If you haven’t already, visit Ready.gov (Listo.gov para español) for additional tips on creating your family emergency plan, getting an emergency kit and taking other steps to prepare.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends coastal residents include food safety as part of their preparedness plans. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of food borne illness. USDA food safety tips include having a cooler on hand to keep refrigerator food cold in case of power outage, and to group food together in the freezer; this helps the food stay cold longer. Additional food safety preparedness tips can be found at USDA Food Safety Inspection Service's website www.fsis.usda.gov.
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.
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.