Between wildfires in Texas, remnants of tropical storm Lee causing heavy rains and flooding in the northeast, and developing tropical storm systems in the Atlantic, here’s an overview of what we’re doing to continue supporting states – whether they are responding to current disasters or preparing for the next one.
- We continue to closely monitor and work with states affected by recent wildfires. Last night, we approved an additional Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) for the state of Texas, raising the total to nine for this series of wildfires. As we said in previous updates, the Administration has multiple Fire Management Assistance Grants for Texas in the last several days, and 54 so far in 2011, making federal funds available to reimburse eligible costs associated with efforts to combat the fires. Two FMAGs were approved yesterday to support the firefighting efforts of first responders and firefighters in California as well.
- In Texas, we are actively working with state and local officials to conduct damage assessments and to identify areas where additional federal assistance may be warranted. FEMA and the state have been operating an open Joint Field Office in Austin since the major disaster declaration was announced this past July. Our Incident Management Assistance Team continues to work with state officials in Austin to further assist with coordination.
Remnants of Tropical Storm Lee
Orange, CT, September 8, 2011 -- FEMA Applicant Services Program Specialist, Mandy McNatt, right, works on a computer with Disaster Recovery Center lead, Doug Kohler, at a center set up to assist local residents impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. Disaster Recovery Centers have been opened up in areas throughout the state to offer information about programs available to local residents.
As we continue working closely to support states’ recovery efforts from the effects of Irene, we are also supporting state, tribal and local response operations from the remnants of tropical storm Lee. Through our regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, we continue to be in constant contact and coordination with our federal, state and tribal emergency management partners to support states that are being affected by the ongoing flooding.
- Last night, President Obama signed emergency declarations for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the state of New York as a result of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, making federal assistance available to save lives and protect property and public health and safety. (We recently posted a blog with details on federal assistance before, during and after severe tropical weather.)
- We currently have emergency response personnel on the ground in Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and other Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, that were mobilized in response to Hurricane Irene and earlier disasters, who are actively supporting state and local response efforts.
- We also have liaison officers in Mid-Atlantic state emergency operations centers and continues to be in constant coordination with the National Weather Service, other federal partners and state emergency management agency partners across the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast.
There are areas from the Mid-Atlantic, into upstate New York and southern New England where flooding, or flash flooding may occur or continue. As we continue to monitor the flooding in along the east coast we urge residents to follow the instructions of local officials. For more flood safety tips, see this past blog post.
Tropical Storm Maria
We continue to monitor Tropical Storm Maria’s path and activity in the east Atlantic. In coordination with local officials, we have pre-positioned resources including personnel, in several locations to help with emergency response coordination and other needs. We have deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist territory and local authorities in coordination efforts; and we already have a Joint Field Office open in Puerto Rico due to our ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene.
While it’s too soon to know if Maria will bring additional impacts to portions of the U.S. mainland, we are closely monitoring the storm through our regional office in Atlanta and in touch with all of the states up and down the East Coast.
Going into this weekend, we urge residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to take steps now in case Tropical Storm Maria has an effect in the islands. Tropical storms can bring high winds and heavy rains, so listen to local officials and follow their instructions, which could include sheltering in place.
For additional information, tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, visit www.Ready.gov (or in Spanish at www.Listo.gov).