WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its regional offices in Atlanta, Ga. and Philadelphia, Pa. is monitoring the conditions of Tropical Storm Andrea. As Tropical Storm Andrea approaches Florida, FEMA urges citizens to closely monitor the storm and take steps to be as prepared as possible, in advance of severe weather and most importantly, follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials.
FEMA remains in close contact with state, tribal and local officials in Florida and all hurricane prone states to ensure they have the resources they need in preparation for Andrea and for the 2013 hurricane season. FEMA has increased the operational status of the National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. to an enhanced watch and a liaison is on site at the Florida emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts.
This storm is projected to bring significant rainfall and the risk for flash flooding in many areas. Remember to stay away from flood waters. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, as of 11 a.m., Tropical Storm Andrea is located 110 miles south-southeast of Apalachicola, Fla. with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. On the forecast track, the center of Andrea will reach the coast of the Big Bend area later today and then move northeastward near the East Coast of the United States through Saturday. No significant change of strength is expected before the center reaches the coast later today. Some weakening is forecast tonight and early Friday while the center of Andrea moves over land.
“Now is the time to ensure your family is prepared, monitor storm conditions and follow the instructions of state, tribal and local officials,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "With the increased risk of storm surge and flash flooding, remember to stay out of the water. Turn around, don’t drown."
Tropical storm warnings are in effect along the west coast of Florida from Boca Grande to Indian Pass, along the East Coast from Flagler Beach, Fla. to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, for Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds and the lower Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, Virginia. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. There is a potential for tornadoes over the Florida Peninsula today.
As the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Tropical Storm Andrea should serve as another reminder that if you live in a coastal state, now is the time to be prepared, including determining if you live in an evacuation zone. As always, residents should listen to the instructions of state, tribal and local officials, and evacuate if told to do so. Visit www.Ready.gov for more information on how you can get your family ready for a hurricane or other emergency.
Here are some things everyone can do to prepare for the 2013 hurricane season:
Know your risk: Understand how hurricanes can affect where you live, work, go to school and play and how the weather could impact you, your family and your community. When you understand your risk, you are more likely to know how to prepare. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for local alerts from emergency management officials and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.
Take action: Pledge to develop an emergency plan and practice how and where you will evacuate if instructed by your emergency management officials. Pledging also provides information on how to strengthen your home and business against hurricanes. You can also download FEMA’s mobile app so you can access important safety tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane. Understand the National Hurricane Center warning and alerts.
Be an Example: Once you have pledged and taken action, be an example by talking to your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors on what you have done to prepare and to inspire others.
For more information on hurricanes, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, visit www.Ready.gov.
Information can also be found on your smartphone at m.fema.gov.
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.