Update 5: Overview of Response and Support Efforts to the Severe Weather - March 4, 2012 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Alexandra Kirin, Public Affairs

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck, this week in the Midwest, FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta, is in close contact and coordination with the impacted states. This week, President Obama spoke with the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio to express his concern for citizens impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes this week, including yesterday and overnight, and condolences to families who had lost loved ones. Today, Secretary Napolitano spoke with the governors of Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee following the storms that affected these states Friday evening, and overnight.

The administration, through FEMA, is closely monitoring the storms and their impacts and remains in close contact with emergency officials in impacted states across the country to ensure there are not any unmet needs. FEMA and its partners have teams on the ground in hard hit areas, and is prepared to deploy additional teams and resources, if needed by the states.

The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support the impacted states, families and communities.

Saturday, March 3

  • President Obama speaks with the governors of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky to express his concern for citizens impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes this week, including yesterday and overnight, and offer condolences to families who had lost loved ones. The President acknowledges that the extent of damage may not be known for days, and reiterates to each governor that FEMA stood ready to provide assistance, if necessary, to the extensive response efforts already underway in each state, led by the governors’ teams.
  • Secretary Napolitano speaks with the governors of Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee in response to the storms affecting the states Friday evening, into Saturday morning.
  • FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. is activated, and its Regional Response Coordination Center in Chicago, Ill. is fully activated to support state requests for assistance. Regional Response Coordination Centers in Kansas City, and Atlanta, are partially activated and monitoring requests for assistance.
  • FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices. Today, the National Weather Service is forecasting a slight risk of severe thunderstorms across the eastern Gulf Coast into the coastal Carolinas. Main threat will be heavy rains across much of the Southeast today.
  • Incident Management Assistance Teams are proactively staged in Indiana and Kentucky to assist in coordination efforts as the states continue to respond and begin to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.
  • 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 and its territories.A national Incident Support Base is established in coordination with the Department of Defense to stage commodities such as meals, water, cots and blankets in strategic locations close to the impacted areas, if needed and requested by the states. More than 98,000 meals and 146,000 liters of water are en route to the incident support base.
  • A FEMA liaison to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center, participates in aerial assessments of the hard hit areas in Indiana.
  • The Private Sector Representative from Wal-Mart is working in the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. to gather situational updates, to communicate and coordinate with private sector entities.
  • The Department of Energy, as of 9:00 am, reports there are currently more than 139,000 customers without power in the impacted states.
  • U.S. Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Distress Helpline is available for those impacted by the storms. Trained and resourced crisis counselors can be reached 24/7 from anywhere in the impacted region by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746. More information is available online.
  • More than 15 Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are providing emergency assistance including sheltering, feeding, distribution of emergency supplies, debris cleanup, and mental and spiritual care to impacted states.

Friday, March 2

  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta, continues to closely monitoring conditions in the areas affected by severe weather, and has been in touch with state and local officials.
  • FEMA’s Regional Response Coordination Center in Chicagi is fully activated to support state requests for assistance.;Regional Response Coordination Centers in Kansas City, and Atlanta, are partially activated and monitoring requests for assistance
  • FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • Joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel are underway in 17 Missouri counties. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • A FEMA Disability Integration specialist is deployed as part of the preliminary damage assessment team in Branson, Mo., and has been working to assess the needs of people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs.
  • At the request of the states, FEMA deploys teams to Illinois and West Virginia to assist with joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments are scheduled to begin Monday, March 5.
  • Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels declares a state of emergency, making state response and recovery resources available to the impacted areas.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator, Andrew Velasquez is in constant communication with Indiana emergency management officials.
  • FEMA deploys a liaison officer to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center to provide support to the state, to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond to the devastating storm outbreak.
  • An Incident Management Assistance Team is deployed to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center.
  • Kentucky Governor Beshear declared a state of emergency, making state response and recovery resources available to the impacted areas.

Thursday, March 1

  • President Obama calls Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to hear about the response efforts underway and determine if federal support is needed.
  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta, closely monitor conditions in Midwest states affected by severe weather, including tornadoes, and has been in touch with state and local officials.
  • FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declares a state of emergency for the southern third of the state of Illinois, making state response and recovery resources available to the impacted areas.
  • The State of Illinois requests joint preliminary damage assessments for eight counties. FEMA is deploying teams to begin assessments on March 5, as requested. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • The State of Missouri and the Small Business Administration have comprised a team of private sector specialists to conduct assessments of impacts on the business community of Branson, Missouri. A FEMA private sector representative is on the team.
  • Missouri Governor Nixon orders the National Guard deployed to support local law enforcement agencies with emergency coordination and recovery.
  • In Kentucky, local states of emergency are in effect for Muhlenberg, Larue and Morgan Counties.

Wednesday, February 29

  • FEMA is in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator Beth Freeman has reached out to the governors of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.  FEMA’s regional office in Kansas City, has been in constant contact with officials at the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency since the severe weather hit.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez III reached out to the Governor of Illinois and is in constant communication with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jon Monken. FEMA Region V is also in communication with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and continues to monitor the situation.
  • Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe storms. The governor’s emergency declaration makes available state government resources, such as personnel, equipment and facilities, to support and assist disaster response operations.
  • Prior to severe weather, FEMA had staff in Springfield, Ill., participating in a planning workshop. Two FEMA staff members remain at the state emergency operations center to monitor the situation alongside the state.
  • The Missouri Business Emergency Operations Center, located at the Missouri State EOC, has been virtually activated to facilitate two-way communications between the private sector, SEMA, and FEMA.
  • State emergency management in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana report damage from tornadoes in some areas.
  • At the request of the State of Missouri, FEMA deploys teams to Missouri to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel which are scheduled to begin Friday, March 2. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • Missouri Governor Nixon has ordered the National Guard deployed to support local law enforcement agencies with emergency coordination and recovery.

Tuesday, February 28

  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, and Chicago, is closely monitoring conditions in Midwest states affected by severe weather, including tornadoes, and has been in touch with state and local officials.
  • FEMA stays in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • The Governor of Kansas declares a State of Emergency, which makes available state government resources, such as personnel, equipment and facilities, to support and assist disaster response operations.

FEMA Blog

Update 3: Preparing for Continued Severe Weather in the Midwest - March 2, 2012 by dharkanjhel
Posted by: Alexandra Kirin, Public Affairs

As we have all seen on the news and on social media, states throughout the Midwest have been affected by deadly tornado outbreaks over the last few days. State emergency management officials in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee have reported tornado in several areas, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who have lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storms.

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms across southern Indiana, southwest Ohio, most of Kentucky, central Tennessee, northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama today. There is a slight risk of severe weather from near Lake Erie southward to the central Gulf Coast states. The main threats will be tornadoes, widespread damaging wind, large hail and flash flooding. The most significant flash flood threat is from southeast Tennessee into northwest Georgia, northern and central Alabama and east central Mississippi.

As Administrator Fugate often says:

Severe weather can strike when you least expect it. Remember, no matter where you live, it’s important to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local news and to monitor for severe weather updates and warnings, and follow instructions of state and local officials.

FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service, especially since these storms can sometime occur unexpectedly with little to no warning. Discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued and if you have severe weather in your area, keep in mind these safety tips:

for tornadoes:

  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

for flooding:

  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Also, be sure to check your homeowner or renter insurance because most homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage, but most people can purchase flood insurance – including renters, business owners, and homeowners. Individuals can learn more about their flood risk and how to get their flood insurance policy by visiting http://www.floodsmart.gov/.

Visit http://www.ready.gov/ or http://www.listo.gov/ for more information on tornado and flood safety tips. If you have a Blackberry, Android or Apple smartphone or tablet, you can download the FEMA app to access safety tips and checkoff items in your emergency kit.

FEMA Blog

Severe Weather in United States - March 1, 2012 by dharkanjhel

Event Summary
Severe weather hit Midwest regions of the United States on February 28 and 29, spawning several tornados that killed at least 12 people and caused widespread property damage, according…



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From Atlantic to Pacific – Severe Tropical Weather - July 19, 2011 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Public Affairs

Last night, tropical storm Bret formed in the Atlantic, the second named tropical system of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. We’re closely monitoring Bret through our regional office in Atlanta as we coordinate closely with forecasters from the National Hurricane Center.

According to NHC forecasts, Bret is expected to move away from the continental U.S. over the next few days. Here’s the latest forecast map for Bret:

latest forecast map of tropical storm bret.

And in the Pacific basin, forecasters are following a well-defined low pressure area that is likely to become tropical cyclone Dora in the next 48 hours. There are currently no coastal watches or warnings in effect for the U.S. at this time and based on current forecasts, the storm is not expected to be a threat to the West coast.

While the latest round of severe tropical weather appears to be steering clear of the U.S., it’s important that you get prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms before one is approaching your community. Check out Ready.gov/hurricanes for more info on getting prepared and visit www.hurricanes.gov for the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane season lasts until November 30, so now is a great time to get your home and family prepared.

FEMA Blog

Video: Update From Admin. Fugate on Southeast Tornadoes and Severe Storms - July 12, 2011 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Public Affairs

As many of you have no doubt seen, devastating storms and tornadoes struck the southeastern U.S. last night.  Here’s a video update from Administrator Fugate on the latest:

Forecasts from the National Weather Service are calling for more severe weather today.  If you are in the potentially affected area, be sure to stay updated with your local forecast and follow the direction of local officials.

For tips on staying safe before, during and after a tornado, thunderstorm or flood, visit Ready.gov or our mobile site (m.fema.gov).

To keep updated with our latest updates, visit the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

FEMA Blog

Continuing to Monitor Severe Weather - May 26, 2011 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Public Affairs

Weather Map from the National Weather Service
Map from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center

Through our regional offices, we’re closely monitoring the severe weather and tornado watches and warnings as they continue. We are ready to support our state partners and the entire emergency management team as they prepare for and respond to the severe weather.

Here are some tips to remain safe:

  • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
  • A tornado warning is when a tornado is actually occurring, take shelter immediately.
  • Listen to local and state officials for emergency information and instructions, and follow local news reports for the latest updates in your area.

For more tornado safety tips, visit Ready.gov/tornadoes or http://m.fema.gov on your smartphone. You can also visit mobile.weather.gov on your smartphone for local weather forecasts.

We will continue to update the blog as necessary, so check back for our latest updates on severe weather and tornadoes.

FEMA Blog

Recap: Response and Support Efforts for Southern U.S. Tornadoes and Severe Storms - May 17, 2011 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Public Affairs

Below is a recap of our activities since the deadly outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes across the southern U.S. For the latest updates on our role, check out the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

Wednesday, April 27th:

  • Severe weather system including high winds, hail and tornadoes devastates parts of several southeastern states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. Alabama is most heavily affected by severe storms, which are forecast to affect the East Coast from Florida through New England through April 29th.
  • Governor Bentley submits request for a federal emergency declaration for the State of Alabama as a result of severe storms, hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes.
  • FEMA Region IV Administrator Phil May speaks with both Governor Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner.
  • DHS Secretary Napolitano speaks with Governor Bentley to express condolences and to discuss latest status.
  • President Obama declares an emergency for all 67 counties in Alabama, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the area struck by these storms. The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. Joe M. Girot is designated as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in Alabama.
  • The President calls Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and expresses his deepest condolences for the tragic loss of life and suffering caused by severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama.
  • President releases statement on the severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/28/president-devastation-alabama
  • FEMA places two National Incident Management Assistance Teams on alert, in case Alabama requests their assistance. These teams help the state coordinate response efforts.
  • FEMA places Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) team on alert, to be available in case Alabama makes a request for assistance.
  • FEMA Region IV deploys a regional liaison officer to the Alabama emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.

Thursday, April 28th:

  • FEMA Headquarters activates its National Response Coordination Staff to Level III, which activates its emergency support functions, including transportation, public works, mass care, public health, search and rescue and others.
  • FEMA Region IV deploys regional IMAT to the Alabama emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from the devastating storm outbreak.
  • FEMA Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) activates to Level II for increased coordination with the affected states.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, and Alabama State Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner conduct a press conference call on the coordinated state and federal response to the severe and deadly tornadoes in Alabama.
  • On this call, Administrator Fugate announces that at the direction of the president, he will be traveling to Alabama to join the governor and other state and local officials on the ground.
  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino travels to the FEMA Region IV headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and meets with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and other state and local officials as they assess the damage.
  • FEMA coordinates with the USNORTHCOM to establish an incident support base in Maxwell, Alabama. The support base will allow FEMA to move supplies such as water, infant toddler kits, and tarps closer to the affected area, in case they are needed.
  • President Obama speaks via telephone with DHS Secretary Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Fugate to discuss the continuing federal disaster relief efforts for areas affected by the devastating severe storms and tornadoes that have impacted Alabama, Mississippi and other states across the Southeast.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate arrives in Alabama to meet with Governor Robert Bentley, and other state and local officials, to assess the damage and ensure the state is receiving all the support needed for its response and recovery operations.
  • Regional IMAT arrives in Alabama to support state efforts at the Alabama emergency operations center.
  • FEMA, its federal partners and the affected states hold a video-teleconference to discuss response efforts and to address anticipated needs.
  • The President speaks with the Governors of Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia to express condolences and let them know that the Federal Government is ready to help in any appropriate and possible way.
  • FEMA liaison officers land on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky emergency operations centers supporting state efforts.
  • The President makes nationally televised remarks to address the severe storms and inform the American people what its government is doing to assist the people in need.
  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino joins Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at a press conference at the state’s emergency operations center in Atlanta.
  • FEMA Administrator Fugate joins Alabama Governor Robert Bentley at a press conference in Tuscaloosa, after his meetings and surveying damage in both Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.
  • The Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues a press release to urge workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of hazards they might encounter and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
  • FEMA deploys a mobile emergency response support team to Alabama to provide prompt and rapid multi-media communications processing, logistics and operational support to state officials.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Val Dolcini reminds crop and livestock producers in affected states that FSA programs may be available to assist with recovery.
  • President Obama declares a major disaster declaration which makes federal assistance available to individual who suffered personal property damages or losses, and for public infrastructure, such as schools, fire stations, and libraries.

FEMA Blog

Recap 9: Response and Support Efforts for Southern U.S. Tornadoes and Severe Storms - May 7, 2011 by dharkanjhel

Posted by Public Affairs

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country last week, the federal government has been in constant contact with all of the impacted states as they responded to and began recovery efforts from these devastating storms.

At the request of the respective governors, FEMA currently has teams on the ground in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee, as well as strategically pre-positioned commodities in the region to support the states.

Federal Coordinating Officers have been working closely with these affected states to assist them in meeting the unique needs of their residents.

Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino fanned out across Alabama, and met with state and local officials, FEMA staff on the ground, and disaster survivors at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), to review recovery activities and talk about the importance of registering for disaster assistance. 

Recap for Friday, May 6th:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino fanned out across Alabama today, and met with state and local officials, FEMA staff on the ground, and disaster survivors at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), to review recovery activities and talk about the importance of registering for disaster assistance.
  • Each state is actively communicating its efforts to the public through the community relations staff on the ground, who are meeting with disaster survivors, through other outreach to explain the assistance available and to encourage survivors register for assistance. Further updates on activities can be found for Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia,  Kentucky , Mississippi and Tennessee
  • Thirty-six disaster recovery centers are open across Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia – these centers are staffed by state, voluntary agency and federal personnel to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by recent storms and tornadoes. The Disaster Recovery Center Locator is a resource that allows individuals to find DRCs nearest to their location, once they are open, and includes information such as hours of operation, services offered, and driving directions.  The centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. The Disaster Recovery Center Locator can be found online at http://www.fema.gov/drclocator or on our mobile site at http://m.fema.gov/.
  • More than 500 inspectors are on the ground in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas assessing damages in order to help applicants to receive financial assistance. The number of field inspectors is expected to increase rapidly over the next several days.
  • More than 50,500 people have registered for assistance in five states affected by severe weather and tornadoes in late April, including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee, roughly 900 of these registrations were completed through the mobile m.fema.gov site, and more than .7 million in grants has been approved for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
  • FEMA posted an additional 21 messages to its blogFacebook and Twitter accounts. To date, FEMA has provided more than 40 responses to comments on FEMA Facebook and twitter accounts.

FEMA Blog

Alabama, Georgia, and Southern U.S. Hit by Tornadoes and Severe Storms - December 27, 2010 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Public Affairs

Our thoughts are with the families and communities in Alabama and Georgia that have been affected by the severe storms and tornados that have ripped through the region this evening and continue to impact the southern states.

Through our regional office in Atlanta, GA we have been in close contact and coordination with state emergency management officials, as they work tirelessly to meet the immediate needs of disaster survivors.

When natural disasters, such as severe storms and tornados, strike, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public’s health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.

This evening, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for Alabama, providing federal support to state and local response efforts.

  • The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all federal disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 67 counties in the State of Alabama.
  • Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.
  • At the request of the state of Alabama, FEMA is deploying a liaison officer to the state emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.

More severe weather is forecasted throughout the south, so make sure you’re taking steps to stay safe before, during, and after the storm:

  • Follow the instructions of state and local officials,
  • Listen to local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information,
  • Make sure you have a safe place to go in case severe weather approaches,
  • Familiarize yourself with severe weather watch/warning terms
    • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
    • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
    • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
    • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

For complete tips on getting prepared for a tornado, severe storm, or flooding, visit Ready.gov or our mobile site (m.fema.gov).

Related blog posts: Our role in severe storms and tornadoes

FEMA Blog

Recap 2: Response and Support Efforts for Southern U.S. Tornadoes and Severe Storms - September 8, 2010 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Public Affairs

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country earlier this week, the federal government has been in constant contact with all of the impacted states as they responded to and began recovery efforts from these devastating storms.

At the request of the respective governors, FEMA currently has personnel on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee, and commodities strategically pre-positioned in the region to support the states.

President Obama joined Administrator Fugate, the Governor and other state and local officials on the ground in Alabama today.

On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Small Business Administrator Mills, and Administrator Fugate will travel to Alabama and Mississippi to survey the damage and meet with state and local officials.

Recap for Friday, April 29th

  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour fly from Jackson, MS to Smithville, Monroe County, to survey the storm-damaged areas.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate joins President Obama in Alabama to view damages as a result of severe storms and tornados that struck Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and other states in the southern and mid-Atlantic regions this week.  President Obama also meets with Governor Robert Bentley, state and local officials, and families affected by the storms. 
  • An additional Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) is on the ground in Alabama, IMATs are also on the ground in Mississippi and in Georgia to assist in the coordination efforts as the states continue to respond and begin to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.    
  • FEMA liaison officers arrive on the ground in Tennessee’s emergency operations center to state efforts.
  • FEMA, its federal partners and the affected states hold a video-teleconference to discuss response efforts and to address anticipated needs. 
  • Secretary Janet Napolitano visits the FEMA National Response Coordination Center where she is briefed by the federal agencies on the ongoing, coordinated federal operations in support of the current and anticipated needs of the affected states.  
  • Supplies such as meals, water, infant toddler kits and tarps begin to arrive, or are en-route to an incident support base established in Maxwell, Alabama.  The support base will allow FEMA to move supplies closer to the affected area, in case they are needed.
  • Nearly 1,100 National Guard men and women perform search and rescue, security, transportation, and road clearing missions in support of the Alabama tornado relief effort.
  • Alabama receives additional assistance, as part of its major disaster declaration, for Marengo and Sumter counties, meaning individuals in those counties can now also apply for federal aid. Damage assessments are ongoing, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are completed in the affected areas. 
  • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announces details of the open USPS offices, along with hours of operation and services that were being provided to disaster survivors affected by the recent storms in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services provides information on post-storm health messages, to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning, promote generator safety and encourage safety around downed power lines.  
  • The American Red Cross continues to provide food and shelter to the thousands of people whose lives were turned upside down by these storms throughout the South and the Midwest. Open Red Cross shelters can be found on www.redcross.org. The Red Cross Safe and Well secure website provides a way for people to find information on people affected by the storms. To register, visit www.redcross.org.

For the latest updates on our role, check out the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

FEMA Blog

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