WASHINGTON – At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and our federal partners, through our regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, continue to closely monitor Hurricane Sandy. FEMA is prepared and ready to support state, local and tribal partners in responding to potential impacts of Hurricane Sandy. FEMA Regional Administrators and other senior officials in FEMA’s regional offices have been in close contact with their state counterparts in potentially affected states along the East Coast to ensure coordination for any emergency response.
Earlier today, President Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb, and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan on Hurricane Sandy and ongoing federal actions to prepare for the storm as it continues to move toward the United States mainland. The President directed Administrator Fugate to ensure that all available federal resources are being brought to bear to support state and local responders in potentially affected areas along the eastern seaboard as they prepare for the severe weather.
In advance of the storm, and in coordination with the states, FEMA is proactively deploying Incident Management Assistance Teams to Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont to assist states and local partners as they prepare for potential impacts. Liaison officers are also being deployed to emergency operation centers in Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey to help coordinate if additional support is needed.
“Tropical storms can bring high winds, heavy rains and dangerous surf. Those along the eastern seaboard should prepare now, monitor local forecasts and follow the instructions of local officials,” urged FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “This is a big storm with potential impacts beyond coastal areas – know your risks, have a plan, and be prepared. Now is the time to update your family communication plans, check your supplies, and stay informed.”
According to the NOAA National Weather Service 2 p.m. advisory, tropical storm watches and warnings remain in effect in many parts of the East Coast from Florida to North Carolina. Additional watches and warnings are anticipated in the coming days.
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, including Atlanta, Ga. and Frederick, Md., if needed and requested.
U.S. Northern Command is deploying Regional Defense Coordinating Officers (DCO), and portions of the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE), in advance of the storm, to validate, plan and coordinate potential Department of Defense (DOD) support of FEMA's response operations and to facilitate DOD support of life-saving and response operations.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is working closely with FEMA and in support of state and local officials is planning to deploy emergency response personnel to FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Boston, New York and Philadelphia over the weekend as well as putting additional personnel on standby to assist. DOE is taking steps to support state and local authorities, who are responsible for coordinating with local utility companies, as utilities begin the process of pre-mobilizing storm and field personnel to assist in power restoration efforts. The Department will provide up to twice daily Hurricane Sandy Situation Reports as appropriate once the storm hits. These reports will be available to the public and will detail the storm’s impacts and the restoration activities being taken by the energy sector. The situation reports will be located at: http://www.oe.netl.doe.gov/emergency_sit_rpt.aspx
FEMA urges those along the East Coast to monitor the progress of Hurricane Sandy. Individuals in the region should continue to monitor NOAA Weather Radio and their local news for severe weather updates, warnings and watches, and follow instructions of local officials. While the exact track of the storm is uncertain, according to the National Weather Service, storm conditions associated with Hurricane Sandy may impact East Coast states throughout the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as early as tomorrow in some areas.
Everyone should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a severe weather hazard. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours. The potential for heavy rains can also lead to flooding, or flash flooding in some areas. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
More information about what to do before, during and after a disaster can also be found visiting ready.gov and listo.gov. The FEMA mobile site (http://m.fema.gov), smartphone app (http://www.fema.gov/smartphone-app), and text messages (http://www.fema.gov/text-messages) also provide regular updates. Sharing information using social media tools is also a good way for residents to stay informed. Follow FEMA online at http://blog.fema.gov, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.
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.