FEMA: Flash Flooding High Risk as Isaac Moves Inland

Hurricane Isaac hits Gulfport, MS. August 28, 2012.

Hurricane Isaac hits Gulfport, MS. August 28, 2012. Photo by Jacob Fuller.

WASHINGTON - At the direction of President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to coordinate the federal government's response and recovery efforts. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb briefed President Obama this morning on Hurricane Isaac's landfall and the potential impacts to coastal and inland states. Earlier this week, the President authorized emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi making aid available for federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in designated areas.

"Residents are urged to continue to listen to the instructions of your local officials, " said Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator. "As the storm continues to move inland, there are a number of areas both along the coast and inland that can be affected by strong winds, storm surge and inland flooding and tornadoes. Residents should monitor NOAA weather radio and local news reports for the latest storm conditions, and, again, follow the direction of local officials."

As Tropical Storm Isaac slowly moves inland, power outages have been reported throughout Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The Department of Energy (DOE) emergency responders are working side by side with FEMA staff in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as at the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC. Emergency responders facilitate clear and consistent communication with other deployed responders, provide subject matter expertise to help with restoration, and identify where the federal government can possibly engage in restoration efforts. Power restoration is already taking place in many areas and the federal government remains ready to assist if requested.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has proactively deployed Emergency Power Teams to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to supply the energy needs of critical infrastructure and facilities necessary to continue with life-saving and life-sustaining efforts as needed. Also, USACE has deployed commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams to Louisiana. USACE teams also have been closely working with the State of Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish to assist in the flood fight of locally owned levees experiencing overtopping from Isaac. Teams on the ground are providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding.

According to NOAA National Weather Service, Isaac made initial landfall as a Category 1 hurricane when it passed over the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana last night. Isaac is beginning to move inland in southeast Louisiana and a dangerous storm surge and flood threat from heavy rains is likely to continue through today and tonight.

In advance of the storm, FEMA has placed four Incident Management Assistance Teams and liaisons onsite at emergency operations centers in Gulf states and has moved two Mobile Emergency Response Support teams and additional commodities to pre-positioned locations closer to the potential impact areas. Texas Task Force-1, a federal urban search and rescue team, was deployed to Louisiana. Other support teams have been identified and are ready to deploy as needed and requested.

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, to support states if needed and requested. FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, has prepositioned supplies closer to potentially affected areas. Incident support bases have been established in Pineville, Louisiana, in Shelby, Mississippi and in Meridian, Mississippi, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.

Below is a timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred since Tropical Storm Isaac first threatened Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its path to the Gulf of Mexico:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

· The President was briefed by DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Knabb on the current impact of the hurricanes and federal government response and recovery actions.

· President Obama, joined by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb, convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

· Secretary Napolitano also called Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to talk with them about preparations ahead of the arrival of Isaac and to offer any support they might need.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was on the ground in Louisiana, where he visited the state emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, met with Governor Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

· FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The Department of Energy (DOE), is the designated Federal Sector-Specific agency directing Emergency Support Function12 (ESF-12) activities for the Energy Sector under the National Response Framework. DOE has teams of responders specializing in energy infrastructure and coordinating with deployed personnel, other Department offices, and Federal and State and local agencies in responding to the emergency.

· FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command deployed four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, KY and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Norfolk Naval Air Station, VA, to assist in search and rescue efforts. A Search and Rescue planner has also been activated and deployed to the Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center. There are four Emergency Planners Liaison Officers deployed to the National Response Coordination Center in support of FEMA and Fort Polk, LA has been designated as a Federal Team Staging Area. The command has activated Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, LA, to validate, plan and coordinate potential DOD support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD's support of potential life-saving and response operations.

· The U.S. Coast Guard will resume initial response activities aimed solely at saving or protecting lives, to include evacuating people from the affected area, as soon as weather permits, and will continue to monitor conditions at all impacted ports.

· U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continued to support the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Emergency Operation Centers and FEMA Regions IV and VI Regional Response Coordination Centers to organize response efforts, has deployed Emergency Power Teams to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. USACE's commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams have deployed to Louisiana and others have been placed on alert status to support Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. USACE teams also have been closely working with the State of Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish to assist in the flood fight of locally owned levees experiencing overtopping from Isaac. Teams on the ground are providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding.

· The American Red Cross (ARC) has provided shelter to more than 5,200 residents Tuesday night at about 80 shelters in six states from Florida to Texas as Hurricane Isaac made landfall along the Gulf Coast. Also, ARC deployed about 2,700 trained Red Cross disaster workers across the Gulf to run shelters, serve meals and distribute relief items. The Red Cross pre-positioned 311,000 ready-to-eat meals, kitchen support trailers and truck loads of relief supplies with clean up and personal hygiene items, cots, blankets, coolers, shovels, tarps and gloves. In addition, the Southern Baptist Convention had mobile kitchens capable of producing thousands of meals a day staged across the Gulf Coast alongside the Red Cross. Just outside the storm area, 187 emergency response vehicles were ready to move into affected communities as soon as weather conditions allow. Local shelter locations are available at http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter

· Mississippi National Guard responded to Hurricane Isaac with approximately 1,500 members from across the state including military police and others with civil support abilities that would enable them to assist local authorities in recovery and relief efforts. Guard members scouted potential sites for the distribution of food and water and established communications with the various local authorities. Louisiana National Guard pre-staged approximately 680 troops and assets across the New Orleans metropolitan area in order to better protect the community and its citizens as Hurricane Isaac churns toward the Gulf coast. In order to quickly respond to possible high-water evacuation or search and rescue missions, Soldiers from the 769th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, staged Humvees hitched with boats at Jackson Barracks.

· USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) urged livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac to keep thorough records of their livestock and feed losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchases because of lost supplies.

· FEMA's Congressional Affairs Division hosted a Congressional Briefing via conference call in conjunction with NOAA's National Weather Service for the Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi Congressional delegations, Congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses and our Authorizers and Appropriators. The purpose of the call is to provide an update on the latest track of Hurricane Isaac and FEMA's current posture and preparations going forward.

· FEMA's Private Sector Representative in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, D.C. continues to engage National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) members requesting store open/closed status from impacted areas. Additionally, the NBEOC will host a call at 2:30 PM EST followed by Region Private Sector calls.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

· President Obama signed an emergency declaration for the State of Mississippi, in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac, making federal support available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, in designated coastal counties, for an incident period beginning August 26 and continuing.

· The President was briefed by DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Knabb on preparations for the storm, and the expected track.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· This afternoon, the President's emergency declaration for the state of Louisiana, in advance of Isaac's landfall, was amended to add the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Franklin, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Helena, St. Martin, St. Mary, and West Baton Rouge.

· FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, established Incident Support Bases at Camp Beauregard in Pineville Louisiana and in Shelby, Mississippi and in Meridian, Mississippi to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.

· A FEMA Disability Integration Specialist is on the ground in Baton Rouge, LA to continue to reach out to disability groups in the area to support information sharing and ensure our response efforts fully includes individuals with access and functional needs.

· U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has deployed a small command-and-control team and two Disaster Medical Assistance Teams in support of potential post storm health care needs, as well as personnel to support the activation of the FEMA ambulance contract to evacuate patients in Louisiana if needed.

· The Corporation for National and Community Service has deployed more than 100 AmeriCorps members to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, with additional deployments expected in the coming days. Serving through the American Red Cross and other organizations, AmeriCorps members are supporting sheltering operations in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Baton Rouge, Madisonville, and Tangipahoa parishes in Louisiana. In New Orleans, AmeriCorps members are assisting the city in providing evacuation and preparedness information to the public. In Jackson MS, AmeriCorps members are assisting the United Way in providing preparedness information to the public. In Hancock County, Miss., volunteers worked to assist disabled seniors secure their homes and properties in preparation of the storm's landfall.

· Amtrak reported that service to and from New Orleans is suspended until Wednesday, August 29, due to the forecasted hurricane landfall of Tropical Storm Isaac. No alternate transportation is available to and from New Orleans and the three cities where Amtrak service will temporarily originate and terminate.

· The American Red Cross has opened many shelters along the Gulf Coast states. To find an open shelter, please visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.

· The U.S. Department of Energy has deployed staff to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, DC, the FEMA IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Atlanta, GA, the FEMA VI RRCC in Denton, TX, and the Florida Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

· The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission activated its Incident Response Center at their office in Arlington, Texas to monitor the activities of the nuclear plants in the storm's projected path. Also, NRC sent additional inspectors to support the resident inspectors at two nuclear plants in Louisiana.

Monday, August 27, 2012

· President Obama signed an emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana, in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac, making federal support available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, in designated coastal parishes, for an incident period beginning August 26 and continuing. The emergency declaration for direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures covers the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

· The President was briefed by FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on preparations for the storm, and the expected track. Following the briefing, the President convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The President made clear that he has directed Administrator Fugate to make sure the Governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each Governor to identify additional needs if they arise.

· Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and other federal officials have had calls with governors and tribal and local leaders to discuss their preparations for the storm and to ensure they had no unmet needs.

· The FEMA activated the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., a multi-agency coordination center that provides overall coordination of the federal response to natural disasters and emergencies, to support state requests for assistance from Gulf Coast and Southern states. FEMA Region IV and Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas remained activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested by the potentially affected states.

· According to the 5:00 p.m. NOAA National Weather Service advisory, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border, including metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Aucilla River; and for the Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east of Sabine Pass to west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· FEMA has Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) and liaisons on site at the state emergency operations centers in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) teams are also on the ground in Florida and Alabama to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations, and with any potential requests for assistance.

· FEMA's Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Jacksonville, Florida, and Montgomery Alabama, continue to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.

· "Hurricane Hunters" from the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron continue to do aerial reconnaissance on the storm and relay critical data to National Weather Service forecasters in Miami. Sophisticated onboard instruments and small canisters are dropped by parachute to the ocean's surface collect accurate measurements of the storm's location and intensity and feed the data continuously to the National Hurricane Center via an onboard satellite link. In addition, the aircraft sends automated messages every 10 minutes, relaying barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and other measurements. The Hurricane Hunter aircraft are doing more than three missions a day, now that the storm is approaching 300 miles from the U.S. Coast.

· The U.S. Coast Guard advised Gulf Coast residents to move their vessels to protected areas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Boats that can be placed on a trailer should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those mariners who leave their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets, emergency position indicating radio beacons, and fenders. Also, if residents have hazardous materials on or near the water, residents are responsible for any spills that may occur. U.S. Coast Guard urges residents to take the necessary precautions to secure these materials prior to any foul weather.

· U.S. Northern Command has activated portions of their Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to validate, plan and coordinate potential Department of Defense (DOD) support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD support of life-saving and response operations.

· FEMA's Private Sector Representative in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, D.C. continues to engage National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) members; keeping them informed of federal efforts in support of Tropical Storm Isaac.

· FEMA Region IV held a private sector conference call to discuss current activities at the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC), and relayed updates from Gulf Coast state partners.

· The Energy Department's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) is the designated Federal Sector-Specific agency directing Emergency Support Function 12 (ESF-12) activities for the Energy Sector under the National Response Framework. In the event of an emergency, OE maintains teams of responders that specialize in energy infrastructure. These responders can be quickly activated and deployed to the location of an event. During an event, OE staff coordinates with deployed personnel, other Department offices, and Federal and State and local agencies in responding to the emergency. OE situation reports are U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the lead agency for Emergency Support Function 12 - Energy, issued a DOE situation report.

· U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed public health and medical liaison officers to FEMA RRCCs and state Emergency Operations Centers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Also, HHS agencies, including the Administration for Community Living, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, are coordinating with state and local counterparts in preparation for the storm.

· The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has activated the Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, for residents of the Gulf states. The Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people seeking crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or man-made disaster or tragedy.

· The U.S. Coast Guard sets port condition X-Ray to the Port of Morgan City, Louisiana in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac. Ships should complete cargo operations. Bunkering and lightering are prohibited in the inshore anchorages. Mariners and operators should anticipate the Captain of the Port will order the port closed to all vessel movement, in advance of the storm, except for emergency and rescue traffic. The U.S. Coast Guard also set port condition Yankee for the Port of Fourchon, Louisiana to all inbound commercial vessel traffic due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac. The U.S. Coast Guard urged owners of larger boats to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Smaller boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and small boats.

· An advance element of 20 Soldiers and civilians from U.S. Army North set off on a convoy from Fort Sam Houston on the evening of Aug. 27 en route to Camp Beauregard, which is located northeast of Pineville, La., to be ready to respond if requested as part of a federal response effort to the affects of Hurricane Isaac. The group moved via one of the command's Sentinel vehicles, three of its Emergency Response Vehicles and four large SUVs as they prepared to spearhead the command's potential response, if called upon, to provide federal assistance in anticipation of landfall by Hurricane Isaac.

· The Port of New Orleans ceased cargo operations in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac. More information on port conditions is available at www.portno.com.

· U.S. Department of Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has activated its Hurricane Response Team and is coordinating reports from offshore oil and gas operators concerning evacuations of personnel from drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The operators also report the amount of daily oil and natural gas production that has been shut-in. The activity statistics are compiled and reported each day through a Hurricane/Tropical Storm Activity Statistics Update.

· U.S. National Guard has activated state personnel and called up on state active duty orders more than 5600 officers in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

· U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has determined that the imminent threat of winds, storm surge and other related weather events predicted to occur in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida as a result of the projected landfall or close coastal travel of Tropical Storm Isaac will constitute an "emergency event" as related to railroad operations. FRA has activated the Emergency Relief Docket and the emergency relief provisions to allow railroads to petition for waivers for certain regulatory requirements. This tool will enable railroads to respond quickly to operational concerns during and in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac, which may develop into a hurricane.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

· President Barack Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states.

· Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss the city's preparations for the storm.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a conference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, DC remained elevated to its 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests for coastal states. FEMA Region IV and Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas remained activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested by the potentially affected states.

· FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) and liaison officers are deployed to the Alabama and Mississippi emergency operations centers to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command established an Incident Support Base (ISB) in Montgomery, Alabama to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.

· FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) arrived at the Florida Division for Emergency Management Operations Center. MERS is a flexible response asset that provides self-sufficient, mobile communications, logistics, and operations capabilities required for the on-scene.

· Three FEMA Mobile Communications Office Vehicles (MCOVs) arrived at the Incident Support Base (ISB) in Jacksonville, Florida. MCOVs are multi-purpose central office facilities that are activated to support FEMA and on-scene emergency management personnel.

· FEMA Incident Management Team (IMAT) and a pre-designated Federal Coordinating Officer is present at the Louisiana State Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge to coordinate with state and local officials and to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· The NOAA National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for coastal areas due to Tropical Storm Isaac. According to the 11:00 a.m. National Weather Service advisory, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef and the Florida Bay. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to Indian Pass Florida including Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef; the Florida west coast and the Florida Panhandle from north of Bonita Beach, FL to Indian Pass, FL including Tampa Bay; and Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach. As of 11 am, tropical storm conditions are occurring in the Tropical Storm Warning area along the Florida East Coast; tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward along the west coast of Florida and into the eastern Florida Panhandle tonight and Monday. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area along the North Coast on Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Monday night.

· The U.S. Coast Guard sets port condition Zulu to the Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac. The ports will remain closed to all incoming and outgoing vessel traffic until directed by the Captain of the Port. The U.S. Coast Guard also sets port condition Yankee for the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee to all inbound commercial vessel traffic due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac. The U.S. Coast Guard urges owners of larger boats to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Smaller boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and small boats.

· The American Red Cross has opened more than a dozens of shelters in Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. To find an open shelter, please visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter

Saturday, August 25, 2012

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a conference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· FEMA Region IV Incident Management Assistance Team arrives to the Florida Emergency Operations Center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response. The FEMA Region IV Response Coordination Center (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia continued to be activated to Level III and a FEMA liaison remains in the Florida State Emergency Operation Center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· FEMA Region VI Response Coordination Center (RRCC) was activated to a Level III (partial activation) to monitor the storm and proactively support any potential needs or requests from Louisiana or Texas and deployed the Regional Incident Management Assistance Team to the State of Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).

· The NOAA National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for coastal areas in Florida. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys (including the Dry Tortugas), the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef, and for Florida Bay. A Hurricane Watch also is in effect for the Florida east coast from Golden Beach southward to Ocean Reef. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef, and for Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach, and for the Florida West Coast north of Bonita Beach to Tarpon Springs.

· U.S. National Park Service announced the closure of Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee, Florida beginning at 12:00 noon Eastern. These closures are conducted in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.

· U.S. Department of Agriculture advised coastal residents in states who have livestock and pets that might be affected by Tropical Storm Isaac. USDA offered tips to help residents protect the health of these animals in the event of power outages, flooding and other issues that can be associated with strong storms.

Friday, August 24, 2012

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives' to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The FEMA Region IV Response Coordination Center located in Atlanta, Georgia is activated to Level III and maintains a FEMA liaison deployed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, established an Incident Support Base (ISB) in Jacksonville, Florida to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. U.S. Northern Command also deployed the Region IV Defense Coordinating Officer and support staff elements to Florida in support of preparations.

· The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends coastal residents include food safety as part of your preparedness plan. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of food borne illness. USDA food safety tips include having a cooler on hand to keep refrigerator food cold in case of power outage, and to group food together in the freezer; this helps the food stay cold longer. Additional food safety preparedness tips can be found at USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service's website www.fsis.usda.gov .

· The NOAA National Weather Service issued tropical storm watches for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the Florida East Coast south of Jupiter Inlet, the Florida West Coast south of Bonita Beach, Florida Bay and Lake Okeechobee.

· FEMA, NOAA and the American Red Cross hosted a conference call with staff members of the Congressional delegation from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, to provide updates on the storm forecast, federal preparations underway and sheltering and response efforts being undertaken by the American Red Cross and volunteers.

· The American Red Cross is preparing to open dozens of shelters across Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. There are 22 Red Cross emergency response vehicles already in Florida and 28 more are moving into the state in advance of the storm with an additional 78 on stand-by if needed. The Red Cross is mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies to send to Florida and Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship emergency supplies if necessary.

· U.S. National Park Service announced the Biscayne National Park closes in Preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac. The temporary shutdown is conducted in accordance with its Hurricane Plan and in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.

· U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac urged federal firearms licensees and federal explosives licensees and permittees to be prepared and protect their merchandise and facilities.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) conducted a conference call with nearly 100 private sector members. The NBEOC is intended to provide the private sector with enhanced information-sharing capabilities during disaster response and recovery.

· The U.S. Coast Guard captain of the port set hurricane condition Whiskey for the Port of Key West, Fla. A heightened condition in which hurricane force winds are possible within 72 hours. All commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and all tank barges greater than 200 gross tons desiring to remain in port must arrange safe mooring. They shall also complete an application and submit it in writing within 24 hours to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port to remain in port. Commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and tank barges greater than 200 gross tons departing the port must depart no later than 24 hours prior to the arrival of gale force winds.

· The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. continued an elevated to a 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Florida.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management participated on the call.

· The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) deployed a Regional Emergency Coordinator to the Puerto Rico. HHS was monitoring the storm and was prepared to deploy federal public health and medical resources if requested by the commonwealth or by the state of Florida.

· FEMA, through its Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. and Caribbean Area Division, had been monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac in the eastern Caribbean Sea, and had been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA), Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Florida Emergency Management Agency.

· FEMA Region IV Liaison deployed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls potentially impacting disaster response.

· FEMA Region II RRCC remained activated with the presence of Emergency Support Functions from Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency Logistics and Resources, U.S. Health and Human Services, Mass Care and U.S. Department of Energy.

· The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. was elevated to a 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

· FEMA's Caribbean Area Division activated Emergency Support Functions to critical help identify potential needs and gaps in the areas of transportation, public works and engineering, mass care, logistics and resources, public health and medical services and energy.

· FEMA continued to maintain ongoing contact with Congressional delegations that could have constituents who reside within potentially-impacted storm zone impact areas of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac's projected path.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

· FEMA, through its Caribbean Area Division, is monitoring Tropical Depression #9/Tropical Storm Isaac in the central Atlantic Ocean as it moves towards the eastern Caribbean Sea, and has been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) and Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA).

· The Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) that supports Caribbean activities remained activated, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

· In advance of the storm, FEMA proactively deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate with commonwealth/territory and local officials, should additional support be requested, or needed. Additionally, FEMA had liaisons in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency operations centers, to further strengthen coordination. These assets supplement federal resources and personnel that are staged, year-round, at FEMA's Caribbean Area Office and Caribbean Area Distribution Center located in Puerto Rico.

· American Red Cross liaisons coordinated with Region II Regional Response Coordination Center, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and Virgin Island Territorial Emergency Management Agency RCC, PREMA, and VITEMA. Call downs of its volunteers and the preparation of shelter teams for the USVI were conducted. Region II is coordinating with government and non-profit partners to support shelter operations, including feeding and logistics.

· NOAA National Weather Service issued a public advisory to indicate that a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning are in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Monday, August 20, 2012

· FEMA Region II's Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) activated to a Level III (Partial Activation) to support Caribbean activities, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Emergency Support Functions in the areas of Transportation, Public Works and Engineering, Mass Care, Logistics and Resources, Public Health and Medical Services and Energy are represented in support of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

· FEMA Region II activated and started deploying a contingent of the Region II Incident Management Assistance Team to Puerto Rico in anticipation of events related to Tropical Depression 9/Tropical Storm Isaac. IMAT members help with coordination, should emergency response assistance be needed.

· U.S. Northern Command deployed Region II Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) and service Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers (EPLO's), compromised of specially trained experts to assist in disaster response, to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist FEMA in assessing if DOD's unique capabilities will be required.

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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