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Monday, 07 July 2014 15:21

Ahead of Tropical Storm Arthur, FEMA Urges Residents to Take Steps to Prepare, Listen to Local Officials

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National Watch Center in Washington and its regional office in Atlanta, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is monitoring the conditions of Tropical Storm Arthur off the east coast of Florida. FEMA remains in close contact with state emergency management partners in potentially affected states.

According to the National Weather Service, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east coast of Florida from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 24 hours. Tropical Storm Arthur is expected to move northwest today and then north on Wednesday. Arthur is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday near the coast of the Carolinas. Visit Hurricanes.gov  and Weather.gov for the latest storm track and local forecasts.

FEMA urges residents and visitors in potentially affected areas to closely monitor the storm and take steps now to be prepared in advance of severe weather and most importantly, follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials.

FEMA has deployed liaisons to the emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina along with an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to North Carolina to coordinate with local officials, should support be requested, or needed. FEMA’s regional office in Atlanta is in contact with its emergency management partners in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. FEMA’s National Watch Center is at an Enhanced Watch.

As the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur serves as a reminder for residents in areas prone to tropical storms and hurricanes to refresh their emergency kits and review family plans. If you do not have an emergency kit or family plan, or to learn about steps you can take now to prepare your family for severe weather, visit 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, that are available to state and local partners if needed and requested.


Tropical Storm Safety 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 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.
  • Tropical Storms 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 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 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.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory is issued when minor or nuisance coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.

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