FEMA Urges Residents in Affected States to Continue to Take Hurricane Matthew Seriously, Be Prepared and Ready for Severe Flooding

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Over 3 Million People Still Under Hurricane Warning, Residents Advised to Heed Instructions from Local Officials

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents to be prepared for severe, potentially record historic flooding as Hurricane Matthew continues to impact the eastern Carolinas. Hurricane Matthew remains a dangerous storm and FEMA urges residents in affected states to heed instructions from state, local, and tribal officials. As of 8 a.m. Eastern Time, over three million residents remained under a Hurricane Warning.

For residents in Georgia and the Carolinas, dangerous flooding continues in many areas and may worsen throughout the day into Sunday, particularly along and east of the I-95 corridor.  Flash flood warnings are in effect for significant portions of the Carolinas and the threat will continue for several more days. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. If residents encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.

Residents should listen for local warnings and information and return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Upon returning home, FEMA advises residents to be aware of emergency workers working on damaged infrastructure and assisting people in damaged areas. Residents should stay off the roads and out of the way.

“Residents need to stay focused on staying safe and be prepared,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “This hurricane is still very dangerous and its effects can be deadly even after it passes. Take flooding seriously, avoid downed power lines, and return home only when local officials say it is safe to do so.” 

Shelters are open across the impacted states. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of 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.

Residents in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew can use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to reconnect with loved ones.

Earlier in the week, President Barack Obama declared emergencies for requested counties in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina authorizing FEMA to provide support and resources necessary to save lives and protect property.   

Safety and Preparedness Tips

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 miles-per-hour poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours. 
  • A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 miles-per-hour 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 miles-per-hour or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 miles-per-hour or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.

For flooding:

  • A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.
  • A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

To learn more about what to do before, during and after severe weather, visit www.Ready.gov.

After the Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions. Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • When you return to the impacted area, watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

For more information about Hurricane Matthew, including resources deployed, imagery, and b-roll go to: http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-matthew

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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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.

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

Last Updated: 
October 8, 2016 - 13:31
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