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As the Federal Family Continues to Support Tornado Recovery, FEMA Urges Caution Against Severe Weather and Flooding

FEMA News Desk
Contact: 202-646-3272
For Immediate Release
No.: HQ-11-57
May 3, 2011

Americans Should Follow State and Local Officials for Emergency Instruction and Latest Updates; Families Should Visit Ready.gov for Information on how to Prepare

WASHINGTON — As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal and other partners continue supporting recovery efforts from last week's deadly tornadoes in the Southeast, FEMA urges caution, especially against flooding, as more severe weather is expected in different parts of the country.

"As we've seen from the damage caused by the recent tornadoes and severe storms that hit the Southeast, as well as flooding all across the country, natural disasters can be devastating," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "While we can't prevent them, if you haven't already, you can take steps now to get ready by visiting Ready.gov, and be sure to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and young children - those who can be most vulnerable during emergencies."

Excessive rain and flooding threats continue across the lower Mississippi and Ohio river valleys into the Northeast. The southeast is also expected to experience rain and thunderstorms today. Stay up to date on the latest weather hazards in your area by visiting the National Weather Service, which is the official source for severe weather information. Also follow these steps to stay safe before, during and after severe weather, particularly flooding:

  • 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,
  • Do not drive or walk through floodwater. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths which occur after individuals drive or walk through floodwater. Turn around and find an alternate route if a road is flooded; it is almost always more dangerous than it appears.
  • Create an evacuation plan before flooding occurs.
  • Discuss flood plans with your family; everyone should know what to do in case family members are not together when a flood occurs.
  • Evacuate immediately if advised to do so.
  • Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as non-perishable food, medicine, maps, a flashlight and first-aid kit.
  • Use extreme caution when returning to flood damaged homes or businesses.
  • Familiarize yourself with severe weather watch/warning terms such as those used to identify flooding hazards:
    • 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 advised 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.

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

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties as a result of the recent tornadoes and severe storms can begin applying for assistance today by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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Last updated: 11/08/2011 - 08:44 AM