Heavy Rains and Flooding Possible in Some Areas
WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its national response coordination center in Washington, D.C. and its regional offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas remains in close coordination with states potentially affected by Tropical Storm Karen. According to the National Weather Service, tropical storm conditions are expected along areas of the Gulf Coast as early as this afternoon and into Sunday.
“Residents along the Gulf Coast are encouraged to continue to monitor local conditions and follow the direction of local officials,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “As the storm continues to move toward land, residents may begin to experience strong winds and flooding. Remember that conditions can change with little or no notice.”
Based on applicable legal requirements and consistent with its contingency plan, FEMA has recalled currently furloughed employees necessary to serve functions of the agency that protect life and property as they prepare for potential landfall of Tropical Storm Karen.
FEMA has recalled staff necessary to deploy four incident management assistance teams (IMAT), including a national incident management assistance team (IMAT), to potentially affected states. Each IMAT is supported by its defense coordinating element staffed by the Department of Defense. Liaison officers are currently positioned in emergency operations centers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to assist with the coordination of planning and response operations. Additional teams are on standby and available for deployment as needed and requested.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant this week about ongoing efforts to prepare for Tropical Storm Karen. Fugate reiterated that Gulf Coast states have the full support of FEMA and the rest of the federal family in advance of the storm making landfall. Fugate’s calls were preceded by outreach from FEMA’s Regional Administrators to emergency management officials in potentially impacted states.
According to the National Weather Service, a tropical storm warning remains in effect from Morgan City, La. to the mouth of the Pearl River. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. Also, a tropical storm watch remains in effect for metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain and from east of the mouth of the Pearl River to Indian Pass, Fla. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible, generally within 48 hours.
Severe Weather Safety and Preparedness Tips for Potentially-affected Gulf Coast areas:
- Have important supplies ready to sustain you and your family, if needed. This includes water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, cell phone charger, medicines, non-perishable food, and first aid supplies.
- History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions and take steps now to get prepared for potential severe tropical weather.
- Tropical storms can bring high winds and heavy rains, so listen to local officials and follow their instructions.
FEMA, through its regional offices in Chicago, Ill and Kansas City, Mo., also is monitoring the storms affecting and potentially affecting areas of the Central U.S., including portions of Iowa and Nebraska, and has been in touch with state and local officials. FEMA deployed a liaison to the emergency operations center in Nebraska and activated an incident management assistance team (IMAT), positioning the team for immediate deployment should assistance be requested by the states affected. FEMA continues to stand ready to support the states, as requested.
For more information on preparing for hurricanes, severe weather and other natural disasters, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, visit www.Ready.gov or www.listo.gov. Information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster can also be found at m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app from your smartphone’s app store.