Posted on 01 Sep 2010
As Hurricane Earl moves toward the East Coast of the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking aggressive actions to prepare for the storm and is coordinating closely with state and local officials along the East Coast to help support their response as needed. FEMA is also encouraging all East Coast residents to take steps now to prepare for possible severe weather in the coming days.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Earl is currently a Category 3 hurricane, and a hurricane warning has been issued for the North Carolina coast from Bogue Inlet, N.C. north to the North Carolina-Virginia border. In addition, a hurricane watch is in effect from the North Carolina-Virginia border north to Cape Henlopen, Del. and a tropical storm warning is in effect from Cape Fear, N.C. to west of Bogue Inlet N.C. As the storm moves closer, FEMA is closely coordinating.
Local officials in North Carolina have issued mandatory evacuations for visitors to Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Islands. As is always the case, state and local officials make decisions on issuing evacuation orders. FEMA encourages all residents and those visiting the East Coast to pay close attention to local updates and heed evacuation orders should they be issued.
"We continue to monitor Hurricane Earl and remain in close contact with state and local officials from North Carolina to Maine to ensure they have the resources to respond if needed," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "I encourage everyone along the eastern seaboard to visit Ready.gov and take steps now to keep their family safe and secure. The most important thing for people to do right now is to listen to and follow the instruction of their local officials. If you are told to evacuate, evacuate."
Information on what individuals and families can 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.
Since this weekend, FEMA has been in constant contact with the White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide regular updates on the storm's developments. Earlier today, Administrator Fugate briefed President Obama on FEMA's preparations for potential impacts of Hurricane Earl on the East Coast and New England, and close coordination with state and local officials in potentially affected states from North Carolina to Maine. FEMA is continuing to monitor the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center, and has deployed teams to North Carolina and other East Coast states to support storm preparations as well as response and recovery efforts as needed. FEMA has also prepositioned commodities for rapid delivery, including water, meals, tarps, blankets, generators and other essential items.
Administrator Fugate also briefed the President on the impacts from Hurricane Earl on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, both of which have had FEMA teams on the ground since the weekend supporting the Governors' efforts related to the storm.
The National Weather Service forecasts the center of Hurricane Earl will move well east and northeast of the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina by Friday morning. Officials are closely monitoring the areas from the Carolinas to New England, and FEMA is coordinating with the Governors and local officials along the East Coast to aggressively prepare for possible severe weather. Even if a hurricane does not make landfall, severe weather and flash floods can occur miles inland. In addition, dangerous surf conditions and rip tides are expected along the cost, and swimmers are encouraged to follow closely the instructions of local officials and lifeguards.