FEMA: Preparedness for Hurricane Arthur Still Essential along Northeast Coast; Residents and Visitors Should Follow Direction of Local Officials

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WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to monitor Hurricane Arthur’s impact and northward track. The agency encourages those in Arthur’s path to listen to their local officials, monitor storm conditions and take steps to be prepared.

"Residents are urged to continue to listen to the instructions of your local officials," said Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator.  "As the storm continues to move along the east coast, there are a number of areas that can be affected by strong winds, storm surge, inland flooding and tornadoes. If you evacuated and are considering returning home, make sure local officials have deemed the area safe to return.” 

Through regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, FEMA remains in close contact with emergency management partners in North Carolina and potentially affected states and has a liaison in the emergency operations center in Massachusetts. FEMA is also working in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center.

In advance of the storm, FEMA had liaisons in the emergency operation centers in North Carolina and South Carolina and an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) in North Carolina to coordinate with state, tribal and local officials should support be requested or needed. Additional teams from around the country are ready to deploy to impacted states and tribes as necessary.

According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect for portions of the east coast as Hurricane Arthur moves northward. The latest storm tracks, local forecasts and warnings are available at hurricanes.gov and weather.gov.

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.

The FEMA smartphone app provides safety tips and displays open shelter information at www.fema.gov/smartphone-app. Information on Red Cross shelters is available by downloading the Red Cross Hurricane app or by visiting redcross.org.

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.
  • If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Stay off the roads in impacted areas. Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • If your power is out, safely use a generator or candles.

    • Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.
    • Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions. 
    • If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • When the power comes back on, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances, to help eliminate problems that could occur if there's a sharp increase in demand. If you think electric power has been restored to your area but your home is still without power, call your local power company.
  • 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 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.

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