WASHINGTON, DC (WMBF) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is keeping a close eye on the conditions of Tropical Storm Arthur.
Arthur is off the east coast of Florida and FEMA is partnering with emergency management in states that could potentially be at risk.
FEMA urges residents of states who could be affected by the storm to prepare and take necessary steps to remain safe in the event of harsh weather conditions. Everyone is encouraged to follow the directions of their state, tribal and local officials. FEMA has elected representatives to the emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina. An Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) will travel to North Carolina to coordinate with local officials, just in case assistance is needed. FEMA is in contact with its emergency management partners in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) officials are on alert to provide secure and non-secure voice, video and information services in support of emergency response communications. According to the National Weather Service, "A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for South Carolina from the Little River Inlet to the South Santee River."
Tropical Storm Arthur serves as a reminder to tropical storm prone areas to update emergency kits and review family emergency plans.
The following are tips to ensure safety in the event of a tropical storm in your area:
Safety and Preparedness Tips
• As the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur serves as a reminder for residents in areas prone to tropical storms and hurricanes to refresh their emergency kits and review family plans. If you do not have an emergency kit or family plan, or to learn about steps you can take now to prepare your family for severe weather, visit www.ready.gov.
• Residents and visitors in potentially affected areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets. Individuals should visit ready.gov or listo.gov to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms.
• Know your evacuation zone and be sure to follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
• Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning and can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
• Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
• If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don't drown.
• Tropical Storms have the potential for tornado formation. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
• Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.
For a Hurricane:
• A Hurricane Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 74 MPH poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
• A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
For a Tropical Storm:
• A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
• A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.
For coastal flooding:
• A Coastal Flood Watch is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is possible.
• A Coastal Flood Warning is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.
• A Coastal Flood Advisory is issued when minor or nuisance coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.
• More safety tips on hurricanes and tropical storms can be found at ready.gov/hurricanes.
For more information on Tropical Storm Arthur, visit www.fema.gov/blog,