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Irene Update 14: Now Is the Time to Get Prepared

We continue to stand ready to support the governors and those states that may be affected by Hurricane Irene. The federal government is aggressively getting ready for two phases of this operation – response and recovery – and has teams and commodities moving into all of the states/regions across the East Coast that will be impacted. For those along the East Coast that may be affected by Irene, the most important message for today is to follow the direction of local officials and make sure you’re making plans to keep your family safety.

Hurricane Irene is a large, dangerous storm that could affect millions in the eastern U.S. with high winds, heavy rains, and potential flooding. If your area may be affected by Irene, make sure to follow the direction of local officials and closely follow news and weather reports. If local officials give the order to evacuate, do so along your pre-determined evacuation route.

The National Weather Service has issued many severe weather watches and warnings along the East Coast, so here’s a reminder on the terminology in case your area may be affected:

  • A hurricane watch means means sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are possible within the specified area in the next 48 hours. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  • A hurricane warning is means sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are expected within the specified area in the next 36 hours. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
  • A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  • A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.

Your local National Weather Service forecast office is the best place to find information about Hurricane Irene’s potential impacts in your area, so check your local forecast at www.weather.gov or on your phone at mobile.weather.gov. And as Irene may bring heavy rains and potential flooding to coastal and inland areas, here’s a refresher on flood terminology as well:

  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
  • Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately, avoiding low-lying areas and roadways covered with flood waters.
  • Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Visit Ready.gov/hurricanes for information on getting prepared for a tropical storm/hurricane, and bookmark m.fema.gov on your smartphone for tips on staying safe before, during and after the storm.

Last Updated: 
07/10/2012 - 15:32
Posted on Fri, 08/26/2011 - 10:27
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