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Residents in Texas and Louisiana brace for the effects of major Hurricane Harvey

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) this morning. The Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas, continues to support states, local communities, and tribes as they are preparing for potential impacts of Hurricane Harvey.

“Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property during a hurricane,” said Administrator Brock Long. “Listen to your local officials and act now. This storm poses a very real danger to those in its path.”

The effects of this storm will be felt for hundreds of miles inland as well as along coastal areas from the southern Texas border to eastern Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center’s forecast expects Hurricane Harvey to produce devastating flooding, torrential rains, and dangerous storm surge as well as sustained high winds. Rain fall accumulations are expected from 15 to 25 inches with even higher amounts in some areas.

The Governors of Texas and Louisiana declared states of emergencies for 30 counties in Texas and statewide for Louisiana. Residents and visitors in potentially affected areas by this severe storm should to monitor local TV and radio for weather updates and evacuation safety information.

Shelters are open across the potentially affected areas. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish.

If local conditions rapidly change and it is unsafe to evacuate, officials may give an order for residents to shelter in place. If this happens, take action immediately. The risk of rapid, severe flooding and flying debris is extremely high. As a precautionary measure, go to an interior room on an upper floor and continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. Follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials.

The full federal family is assisting states, local communities, and tribes in their initial response. Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams arrived in San Antonio, Texas to support potentially affected areas as needed. Liaisons are at the National Hurricane Center in Florida monitoring the track and the anticipated changes in the severity of this storm. Additionally, FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) are in place at Emergency Operations Centers in Austin, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support any requests for federal assistance.

FEMA established Incident Support Bases (ISB) near Seguin, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, and Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, to pre-position supplies including water, meals, blankets, and other resources closer to the potentially affected areas, should they be needed and requested by the state. State, local, and tribal officials are responsible for distributing supplies to their communities.

At all times, 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.

Safety and Preparedness Tips

FEMA recommends visitors and residents in areas potentially affected by Hurricane Harvey take the following actions:

If the storm is expected to affect your area, know your evacuation zone and follow the direction of state, local or tribal officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area. Storm surge poses a significant threat for drowning and can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.

There is the potential for flooding and storm surge with Hurricane Harvey. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Nearly half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. Stay safe when in your car by watching for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you encounter floodwaters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.

Businesses of all sizes should prepare in advance for the approaching storm to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations. Businesses can review and update their business continuity plans and ensure their workforce knows what to do before and during the storm.

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