FEMA: Follow Evacuation Orders; Residents and Visitors Urged to Follow Direction of Local Officials

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WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its National Response Coordination Center in Washington and its regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is continuing to monitor Hurricane Arthur.

FEMA remains in close contact with emergency management partners in potentially affected states, and the agency encourages those in Arthur’s path to follow any evacuation orders given by local officials. FEMA also urges residents and visitors in potentially affected areas to monitor the storm closely and take steps now to be prepared in advance of severe weather.

"As the holiday approaches, we continue to warn residents and visitors to be aware of evacuation routes in case an evacuation is ordered by state and local officials”, said Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator. “If an evacuation order is given by local officials - leave.”

Yesterday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry about preparedness efforts and to ensure there were no unmet needs.

FEMA has liaisons in the emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina along with an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) in North Carolina to coordinate with state, tribal, and local officials, should support be requested or needed. FEMA is currently working with its federal partners at the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta and Boston and has also activated its National Response Coordination Center in Washington D.C.

Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment have been placed on alert to provide emergency management partners with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services in support of emergency response communications.

According to the National Weather Service, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for portions of North Carolina coast as Hurricane Arthur moves northward. Also, a Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch are in effect for parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Hurricane conditions are expected within portions of the hurricane warning area by tonight. The tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward in the tropical storm and hurricane warning areas later today and tonight.  The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Hurricane Arthur may become a Category 2 storm when it passes over or near the North Carolina coast. Visit hurricanes.gov and weather.gov for the latest storm track and local forecasts and warnings.

As the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Arthur serves as a reminder for residents in areas prone to tropical storms and hurricanes to refresh their emergency kits and review family emergency plans. Those who do not have an emergency kit or family plan can learn about steps to take now to prepare for severe weather at ready.gov.

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States, and they are available to state, tribal and local partners if needed and requested.

Safety and Preparedness Tips

  • Residents and visitors in potentially affected areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets. Individuals should visit ready.gov or listo.gov to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms.
  • Know your evacuation zone and be sure to follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
  • Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning and can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
  • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and 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 six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • Hurricanes have the potential for tornado formation. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • 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 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.
  • A 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 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 coastal flooding:

  • A Coastal Flood Advisory is issued when minor or nuisance coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.
  • A Coastal Flood Watch is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is possible.
  • A Coastal Flood Warning is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.

More safety tips on hurricanes and tropical storms can be found at ready.gov/hurricanes.


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.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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