FEMA Encourages Gulf Coast Residents to Prepare Ahead of Tropical Storm Nate

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WASHINGTON – FEMA, through its headquarters in Washington, D.C., regional response coordination centers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Denton, Texas, and liaisons to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, along with federal partners, continues to actively monitor the track of Tropical Storm Nate, remaining in close coordination with state and tribal officials.

As of 7 am EDT, according to the National Hurricane Center, the center of Tropical Storm Nate was 230 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. On the forecast track, the storm is expected to continue strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico, and could affect portions of the Gulf Coast of the United States as a hurricane late Saturday or early Sunday, with direct impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. 

While it is too early to specify the timing or magnitude of the possible impacts, FEMA encourages residents and visitors in areas along the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle, to monitor the progress of the system and heed advice from local officials.

Hurricane and tropical storm watches are in effect for portions of the northern Gulf Coast.  Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch areas beginning Saturday evening, with hurricane conditions possible in the hurricane watch areas Saturday night.  As of 7 a.m. EDT, a Hurricane Watch is in effect for Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border; Metropolitan New Orleans; Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Mississippi/Alabama border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line; and West of Morgan City to Intracoastal City, Louisiana. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Morgan City, Louisiana/Florida border and Northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

In advance of the storm, FEMA liaison officers are deployed to emergency operations centers in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to help coordinate any requests for federal assistance.  A FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams is on site at the Louisiana emergency operations center to support response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.

History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly. Residents and visitors in areas potentially affected by the severe weather, in the northern Gulf Coast, should monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials.  

When natural disasters such as tropical storms strike, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, numerous private interest groups, and neighbors. They provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human need.

On Oct. 5, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards submitted a request for a federal emergency declaration, on October 5, for 17 parishes as a result of the Tropical Storm Nate. The request is currently under review.

Safety and Preparedness Tips:

The FEMA app (available in English and Spanish) provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, directions to open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

FEMA recommends residents and visitors in areas potentially affected by the storm should monitor the progress of this system for the next several days, heed instructions from local officials and follow the below preparedness and safety tips:

  • Be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for pets. Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms.
  • If local or tribal officials order evacuations, evacuate.
  • Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.

For a tropical storm:

  • A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.

For a hurricane:

  • A Hurricane Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 74 MPH poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

For storm surge:

  • A Storm Surge Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone poses the possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
  • A Storm Surge Warning is issued when a tropical cyclone poses a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline within the specified area, generally within 36 hours
  • Businesses of all sizes should prepare in advance for the approaching storm to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations. Businesses can review and update their business continuity plans and ensure their workforce knows what to do before and during the storm. Resources are available on web sites such as Ready.gov/business and the SBA.gov/disaster-planning.

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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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