ICYMI -- FEMA Administrator Urges Caution During Henri

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August 23, 2021

WASHINGTON -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell appeared on FOX, CNN and MSNBC earlier today to encourage people to stay safe during Henri and discuss FEMA’s readiness to assist impacted states. FEMA’s Acting Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, David Bibo, spoke with the Weather Channel about current storm conditions and response.

FEMA is closely monitoring Henri’s path and impacts. Though the storm’s wind strength is decreasing, the danger has not passed and life-threatening flooding is possible throughout the northeast.

“My biggest concern right now is that people might think the storm has passed, and they shouldn’t,” said Administrator Criswell this afternoon on Fox News.  “While we haven’t seen the winds we could’ve seen, we’re still seeing a lot of rain. It’s going to continue to go inland in areas that have already been saturated by rain over the last several weeks. People need to still stay vigilant and stay aware of their surroundings.”

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell talking with a news reporter

She also told FOX News about FEMA’s current response efforts and capabilities.

“We already have close to 1,000 people in the region right now doing swift water rescue teams, liaisons … they are all pre-positioned,” said the administrator. "I have individuals in with every state’s emergency operations center. We are ready to respond right now as soon as we identify states’ needs.”

Administrator Criswell joined CNN to discuss the key threats posed by Henri.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell speaking with a female reporter

“One of the things I’m concerned about … is the tree stability where we've had this massive amount of rain over the last few weeks and more rain coming. It means they're unstable. People need to be aware of their surroundings. They need to watch where the flooded roadways are,” Administrator Criswell said. “Don't drive in them. Don't walk in them. That water can be moving faster than they think. People need to be aware and keep themselves out of harm's way.”

The FEMA administrator also discussed the threat of climate change and FEMA’s response efforts with MSNBC.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell speaking with a female reporter

“We are continuing to see the effects of climate change,” she said. “We are seeing more severe storms, more frequent, larger numbers of storms. It’s not going to end. Climate change is the crisis of our century right now, and we need to be prepared for that. We have put a lot of money, close to $5 billion available for hazard mitigation to help communities start to reduce the impacts from these events they might experience in the future.”

This evening, Associate Administrator Bibo updated the Weather Channel on current weather conditions and whole-of-community hurricane response.

David Bibo

“What we know is that for the next 24-36 hours, people in southeastern New York, western Connecticut, Massachusetts, southern Vermont and New Hampshire really need to pay attention to Henri as it progresses slowly and dumps a lot of rain, because we will see persistent flash flood warnings. People need to pay attention and be prepared to head to high ground if flash flooding may affect them.”

He went on to highlight some of the resources prepared to assist in Henri response.

“The good news is we have a lot of resources ready to support the power restoration mission and that life-saving mission of swift water rescue, if that becomes necessary with the flooding. We’ve seen teams shared from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the affected states that have been staged nearby in New England, and they are prepared to support throughout the affected area. FEMA has moved incident management assistant teams as well as meals, water, tarps, communications and vehicles to be ready to support the affected states, as Henri progresses over the next 24-36 hours.”

Pay attention to state and local officials for important safety information. For general response updates, visit FEMA.gov and download the FEMA app. Additional preparedness information can be found at Ready.gov.

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