FEMA Working Closely with Federal, State and Tribal Partners to Coordinate Hurricane Response Efforts

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Residents Encouraged to Follow Instructions of Local Officials

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents to follow instructions from state, tribal and local officials as it continues to coordinate requests for assistance from states and tribes affected by Hurricane Matthew with its federal partners at the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta and the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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

Experts at the National Weather Service say the powerful storm is expected to turn toward the north-northwest later this morning and will be close to or over the East Coast of Florida through Friday night. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 120 miles-per-hour with higher gusts. Rainfall totals of six to 12 inches are expected, with isolated amounts up to 15 inches being forecast along east and central Florida, Georgia and South Carolina through Saturday. Significant storm surge and flooding is also expected in those areas.

“You can rebuild a home, but you cannot rebuild a life,” said FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate. “Now is the time to make sure you are listening to your local officials and following their instructions explicitly.

If you live in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew or know someone in those areas, social media sites like Facebook or Twitter are good way to stay in touch. The American Red Cross has a tool called Safe and Well to keep track of friends and loved ones during and after the storm.  

FEMA support efforts are on-going and include six Urban Search and Rescue task force teams in Florida, and five task force teams in Georgia to assist with anticipated search and rescue efforts.  In addition, an Incident Support Team also is deployed to Georgia to coordinate rescue efforts across these teams.

Incident Support Bases are staffed in Albany, Ga. and Fort Bragg, N.C., to pre-position resources closer to potentially affected areas, should affected states or tribes request them.  Today there are more than 476,000 liters of water and more than 536,000 meals, as well as tens of thousands of cots and blankets on site.

Shelters are open across the potentially 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.


Safety and Preparedness Tips

Hurricane Matthew has the potential for life-threatening rain, wind and storm surge. Those in affected areas should follow the direction of their state, tribal or local officials.

There is the potential for flooding with this storm. 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.

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.





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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