WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners, including the National Weather Service, continue to closely monitor the major winter storm systems impacting the Northeast and developing across the Northern and Central Plains. FEMA's regional offices in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, New York City, and Philadelphia are in contact with state emergency management counterparts and with tribal emergency managers in the path of the storm. FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. continues to monitor the situation and hold regular operational briefings with regional and federal partners as the severe winter weather continues.
At the state's request, FEMA liaisons have been positioned in state emergency operations centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York (both in Albany and New York City), Rhode Island, and Vermont. A National Incident Management Assistance Team is deploying to the Northeast to provide support if additional support is requested to help with emergency response coordination and other needs. These personnel are in addition to the joint state and federal field office staff already in place supporting ongoing disaster recovery efforts in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont following Hurricane Sandy. Other teams and personnel are ready to support, if needed and requested.
According to the National Weather Service, blizzard conditions, heavy snow and high winds are expected to continue today into tonight in portions of the Northeast and will produce moderate to locally major coastal flooding. The wet heavy snow may cause downed tree limbs and power lines, creating power outages. Additionally, the National Weather Service forecasts that snow, and in some areas, blizzard conditions are expected across parts of Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming through the weekend into Monday, in some areas.
"Everyone has a role to play in the response to this winter storm," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Follow the direction of your state, local and tribal officials, and if you are told to stay off the roads, stay home, and when it is safe, check on your neighbors or friends nearby who may need assistance or extra support. Older adults and individuals who are dependent on life-sustaining medical equipment or assistive devices such as a ventilator or mobility devices, may need additional support in areas that have lost power."
FEMA echoes the warnings issued by the National Weather Service and local elected officials in the affected region, and asks citizens and visitors in areas with severe winter storms to avoid all travel both during and immediately following the storm and to heed all advice and safety information provided by state, tribal and local emergency officials. Individuals in the path of the storm should monitor their NOAA weather radio and local weather forecast office or www.weather.gov for the latest information, including additional or changing weather watches and warnings.
Individuals in areas affected by the storm, are reminded of these safety tips during the storm:
· Stay indoors during the storm.
· Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
· Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
· Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
· Use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
· Check on your neighbors or friends nearby who may need assistance or extra support.
For more information on what to do after winter storms, visit www.ready.gov.