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FEMA Urges Mid-Atlantic Residents to Prepare for Tropical Depression Ida

Release Date Release Number
R3-21-NR-112
Release Date:
August 31, 2021

PHILADELPHIA – Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana on Sunday afternoon with devastating consequence. Ida has been downgraded to a tropical storm but will continue to bring life-threatening flash, urban and river flooding to communities throughout the mid-Atlantic over the coming days.

Tropical Storm Ida is expected to bring three to six inches of rainfall to the Ohio Valley, southern/central Appalachians, and Mid-Atlantic today through Wednesday. A few areas could see higher amounts. Portions of our region have received several inches of rainfall over the past two weeks from weather systems including but not limited to Fred and Henri, which have primed soils and rivers for additional water related impacts ranging from erosion to flooding.

Considerable flash and river flooding will be possible across FEMA Region 3 to include most of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, northern/western Virginia, Washington, DC, and northern Delaware. Areas near mountains, urban communities, and along small creeks and streams should plan for flooding associated with Ida which may persist through mid- to late week, and perhaps into the weekend in the same areas.

History has shown that the region is susceptible to flooding rain associated with the remnants of tropical systems. Ida will be no different. FEMA Region 3 along with our federal, state, tribal and local partners, as well as non-government agencies and private sector entities, remain fully postured to respond to and support impacted communities.

“FEMA Region 3 is ready to assist our state and District partners,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “We are working in hand in with state and District response officials to position personnel and resources.”

Tierney adds, “Everyone has the ability and opportunity to prepare before any storm hits. There are actions you can take as an individual to protect yourself. If you live in an area susceptible to flooding, be prepared for what is coming and prepare accordingly. Severe storms impact everyone in their path. FEMA encourages everyone to protect your home now, check your emergency supplies, stay in contact with family and neighbors, work with your local emergency manager if you need additional guidance or assistance, and keep up to date on changing weather conditions.

As the storm moves inland, anyone in the forecast path should prioritize completing final preparations, monitor your local news for updates and directions provided by local officials, as well as check on neighbors and loved ones if safe to do so.

Keep Yourself Safe During Flooding

  • Stay off the roads: Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas.
  • Check on neighbors who may require assistance if it is safe to do so. This includes individuals with infants, children as well as older adults, people with disabilities and others who may need help.
  • Don’t drive through flood waters: 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 6 inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay out of floodwater. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines or contain hazards such as human and animal waste, dangerous debris, contaminates that can lead to illness, or wild or stray animals.

Stay Safe, Post-Storm

  • If you need to evacuate post-storm, be extremely careful driving as roads may be damaged or blocked. If you go  to a community or group shelter, remember to follow the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19. FEMA is prepared and activated  to respond to disasters in states in a COVID-19 environment and is well postured to handle this upcoming storm  despite the Delta surge.
  • Check local media for a list of shelters, including those who can accommodate pets. If you are staying in a hotel, please call before you go and ask if pets are permitted.
  • If you are in the path of Ida as it moves inland, gather supplies. Have enough supplies for your household. Include medication, disinfectant supplies, face masks, pet supplies and a battery-operated radio with extra batteries.
  • If your home has flood water inside or around it, don’t walk or wade in it. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Never attempt to turn off power or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.
  • Be careful when cleaning up. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves and sturdy thick-soled shoes. Do not try to remove heavy debris by yourself. Use an appropriate mask if cleaning mold or other debris. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay far away and report them immediately to your power company.
  • Don’t drive through flood waters: 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 6 inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Use a generator correctly and safely. Keep generators dry and position them outdoors and well away from any structure. Using a generator incorrectly can lead to dangerous situations, including carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get fresh air right away.
  • If you are able, please check on your neighbors, friends, and family because some may need more help than others.

Additional post-storm safety tips can be found on Ready.gov and Listo.gov. For more information on federal Hurricane Ida preparedness and response visit Hurricane Ida | FEMA.gov.

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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region 3’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. 

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Last updated August 31, 2021