As Sandy is making its way toward the east coast of the United States, we continue to work with our state partners to prepare for impacts ranging from large storm surges, wind, rain, and even snow. Recent forecasts on this storm system tell us that this is NOT just a coastal storm, but is predicted to impact areas spanning from the Great Lakes to the Carolinas, with the highest storm surge from Delaware Bay through New England. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Sandy is forecast to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday.
It is important to keep in mind that regardless of whether this storm is a hurricane or post tropical storm when it makes landfall, the risk for damage remains. This is not a single point on the map – we need to look across the entire storm area. The Administrator and Dr. Rick Knapp from NHC continue to stress that every storm is different. We cannot drop our guard and must continue to prepare and lean forward.
Administrator Craig Fugate and I, along with over 100 FEMA employees and representatives from our interagency partners, are currently in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC). We are coordinating closely with our state partners, and forward deploying assets to areas that may be affected by the storm. In particular, we have deployed Regional Incident Management Assistant Teams (IMATs) to New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina and the National IMATs to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. We have also established incident support bases with prepositioned commodities for the region in Massachusetts and New Jersey, in addition to the distribution centers already in Georgia and Maryland. The purpose of this forward leaning approach is to ensure we are prepared to support the states with any unmet needs they may have while responding to Sandy.
Today is the day to finish up your preparations. Listen to your local weather announcements, emergency managers, and other local officials for information on how to prepare. Please safeguard your families if you are in an area that may be affected by the storm. And prepare for assisting in the weeks ahead. Whether a reservist, a member of the National Response Coordination Staff or the Regional Response Coordination Staff, or a full time employee, and as member of your own community, neighbors helping neighbors, we will need your help to support survivors as they respond to and recover from this storm.