from the inbox:
As Hurricane Earl moves away from North Carolina and up toward the Northeastern United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is continuing to take aggressive steps to coordinate with state and local officials across New England as they prepare for the storm. In the Northeast, FEMA is urging residents to get ready for possible severe weather and listen to instructions from local officials. In areas already affected by Hurricane Earl, especially in North Carolina, FEMA urges continued precautions as residents and visitors emerge from their homes or return to evacuated regions.
"While its good news that initial reports from our teams in North Carolina show Earl had minimal impact when it passed over, we still don't know what Earl's impact will be when it passes the Northeast tonight. FEMA is prepared to help state and local officials, as well as individuals, families and communities, respond to and recover from the effects of Hurricane Earl," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "However, the most important thing that East Coast residents can do it to take this storm seriously and stay informed. Residents should listen to local officials and visit Ready.gov for tips on how to keep yourselves and your families safe and secure."
As of 5 p.m. today, the center of Hurricane Earl was located about 230 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Hurricane Earl has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, and a turn towards the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected in the next 24-36 hours. According to the forecast track, the center of Earl will approach southeastern New England on Friday evening.
Since the weekend, FEMA has been in constant communication with East Coast Governors, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the White House. Administrator Fugate briefed President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano several times this week on FEMA's actions to assist state and local officials as they prepare for and respond to Hurricane Earl. President Obama has signed pre-landfall emergency declarations for the states of North Carolina and Massachusetts, making federal funding available to support state efforts to save lives and protect property.
Well before Earl reached the East Coast, FEMA has taken proactive steps to support state and local officials, including the following:
· FEMA deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) to support state and local preparation, response and recovery efforts in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine. IMATs are on standby for New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
· FEMA activated the National Response Coordination Center and its Regional Response Coordination Centers in all four of its regional offices in the eastern United States, located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
· FEMA deployed an Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team to Boston, Massachusetts.
· FEMA had also prepositioned commodities for rapid delivery, including water, meals, tarps, blankets, generators and other essential items. FEMA has moved 400,000 liters of water, 300,000 meals, and 54 generators to an Incident Support Base (ISB) location in North Carolina. FEMA has also moved 162,000 liters of water, 213,120 meals, 41 generators and 12,500 tarps to an ISB in Massachusetts.
FEMA also coordinated a robust effort across our nation's entire emergency management team, including our federal partners and non-profit organizations, to provide support for regions, if affected by storm activity, including:
· Department of Health and Human Services transported and pre-positioned caches of medical equipment and supplies in the northeast, and additional caches of medical equipment and supplies are prepared for deployment. Seven National Disaster Medical Teams and hundreds of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers are on alert.
· Department of Defense (DoD) positioned a Defense Coordinating Element in the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in New York. DoD also has a Defense Coordinating Officer in St. Thomas, Massachusetts and Georgia. State Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers are in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands.
· U.S. NORTHCOM's Hurricane Hunters continue to conduct weather flyovers.
· U.S. Coast Guard's First Coast Guard District Units assessed their storm readiness in order to ensure that they can effectively conduct rescue operations in the immediate aftermath of the storm. The Coast Guard conducted extensive public outreach to remind boaters to properly secure their vessels, beware of dangerous surf along the shoreline which can sweep storm watchers into the water, and beware of strong rip currents.
· American Red Cross deployed more than 350 workers to North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, along with more than 60 emergency vehicles. Red Cross shelters are expected to open in North Carolina today and additional shelters are poised to open in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with emergency planning continuing in ten other states along the coast. Up-to-date shelter location information is readily available on www.redcross.org by clicking "Find a Shelter".
FEMA encourages all individuals in the region to listen to their NOAA Weather Radio and local news to monitor for severe weather updates, and to follow the directions provided by local officials.
Information on what individuals and families can do to prepare for an emergency, including flash flooding and other severe weather that frequently accompanies hurricanes, is available at www.Ready.gov. A Spanish version of the website is available at www.Listo.gov.