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release 110201

As Winter Storm Impacts the Midwest and Approaches Northeast, FEMA Continues Urging All Residents to be Prepared

FEMA News Desk
Contact: 202-646-3272
For Immediate Release
February 1, 2011

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

WASHINGTON — As a major winter storm continues to impact the Midwest and South, and heads toward the Northeast tomorrow, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is continuing to urge all residents to get prepared, especially for potential power outages and icy roads. Families and individuals can visit or for information on how to get ready for snowstorms, dangerous driving conditions and other types of winter emergencies.

"We are continuing to work with our federal partners, and state, local and tribal officials to make sure they have what they need to prepare for and respond to the storm," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "But we also need the public's help. Residents should listen to their local news to monitor for severe weather updates and follow any directions from their local officials. If a winter storm warning is issued, people should avoid driving and stay indoors. And if you and your family are safe, do one more thing and check on your neighbor."

Earlier today, President Obama was briefed by phone by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Administrator Fugate on the ongoing federal efforts to support preparations for the storm. FEMA continues monitoring the storm and working closely with state and local officials through its regional offices in Kansas City, Mo.; Denton, Texas; Chicago; Atlanta; Philadelphia; New York City and Boston. FEMA is also monitoring a separate, slightly weaker storm that is expected to bring snow to parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New England through this evening.

The National Weather Service remains the source for official severe weather information, and has issued winter storm watches, warning or advisories in over 30 states, and blizzard warnings have been issued for eight states, including Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

As of this morning, FEMA has deployed personnel to Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to closely coordinate with state officials should federal emergency response assistance be needed.

FEMA has pre-staged emergency commodities across the United States should they be needed to support state and local emergency response operations. Additionally, FEMA is proactively sending additional supplies such as water, meals, blankets, cots and power generators to various locations in case they become needed.

Everyone should get familiar with the terms that are used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe a winter storm hazard include:

  • Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
  • Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
  • Blizzard is issued for winter storms when the following conditions are expected to last for at least three hours: winds of at least 35 miles per hour with considerable snowfall that reduces visibility to ¼ of a mile or less.

Remember, when a winter storm warning is issued, stay indoors during the storm. Avoid traveling by car, but if you must, make sure you have an emergency supply kit in the trunk of your car. FEMA urges families to maintain an emergency supply kit both at home and in the car to help prepare for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads. Visit or for more winter preparedness information, as well as additional information on staying safe during emergencies.

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.