WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to closely monitor response efforts to the Colorado flooding through its National Response Coordination Center in Washington and through its Regional Response Coordination Response Center in Denver, Colo. FEMA remains in close coordination with state and local emergency management partners and stands ready to support.
Last night, President Barack Obama declared an emergency for three counties in Colorado, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts. The declaration makes direct federal assistance support immediately available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in areas of Colorado, including Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, affected by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.
FEMA has an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) and a liaison officer on site at the Colorado emergency operations center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response. An additional Incident Management Assistance Team is also en route. Colorado-Task Force 1, a federal urban search and rescue team, is on the ground to support search and rescue operations in hard hit areas.
“We urge residents to continue to monitor weather conditions, and those in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “If you are driving and come across flood waters, remember to turn around, don't drown. FEMA continues to have staff on the ground to support state and local lifesaving efforts."
According to the National Weather Service, the official source for severe weather watches and warnings, flooding advisories remain in effect for several areas in Colorado, and severe weather remains in the forecast through the weekend in some areas. It may take several days or longer for river levels to crest and begin to recede.
Here are a few safety tips to help keep you safe during flooding:
- If flooding is occurring or is expected, get to higher ground quickly.
- Turn Around, Don't Drown. Avoid flooded areas.
- Give first responders space to do their work by following local public safety instructions.
- It may take several days or longer for river levels to crest and begin to recede.
Those in areas with the potential to be affected by flooding should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard and discuss what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued:
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA at www.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts.
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.
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