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June 10, 2013

FEMA Urges East Coast Residents to Be Prepared for Localized Flooding and Listen to Local Officials

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, continues to closely monitor Tropical Storm Andrea and the potential for flooding in coastal and inland areas along the path of the storm.

As Tropical Storm Andrea continues to churn over the East Coast, FEMA urges citizens to closely monitor the storm and take steps to be as prepared as possible, in advance of severe weather, and most importantly follow the directions of state, local and tribal officials.  This storm is projected to bring significant rainfall and the risk for flash flooding in many areas. If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown. 

FEMA remains in close contact with emergency managers in affected and potentially affected areas along the East Coast to ensure they have the resources they need for Andrea and for the 2013 hurricane season.  FEMA’s National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. remains at an enhanced watch. An incident management assistance team (IMAT) and liaison are en route to the Virginia emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts, and at the request of the state of Florida the IMAT and liaison deployed earlier in the week to Florida to support coordination are standing down. 

“As the storm continues northeastward along the East Coast, we urge those in potentially affected areas to continue to monitor storm conditions and follow the instructions of state, tribal and local officials,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Stay away from flood waters; never drive through flooded roadways.”

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. The depth of water is not always obvious. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.  Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Never cross any barriers that are put in place by local emergency officials.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, as of 11 a.m., Tropical Storm Andrea is located 50 miles southwest of Fayetteville, North Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. The center of Andrea made landfall on the coast of the Big Bend area last evening, and will continue to move along the East Coast through Saturday. As much as 6 inches of rain will be expected in some areas.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from north of the South Santee River, South Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, North Carolina, and for the lower Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, Virginia.  A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.  Tornados are possible over eastern portions of North Carolina and Virginia today.

Although there have been no requests for federal Stafford Act assistance, FEMA continues to stand ready to assist states and tribes, as needed and requested.

As the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Tropical Storm Andrea should serve as another reminder that if you live in a flood-prone or coastal state, now is the time to be prepared, including determining if you live in an evacuation zone. 

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. Tune to local media for emergency details in your town.  More information is available on WEA at www.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts.

As always, residents should listen to the instructions of state, tribal and local officials, and evacuate if told to do so.  For more information on tropical storms and severe weather, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, visit www.Ready.gov.

Information can also be found on your smartphone at m.fema.gov.