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FEMA Monitors Severe Pacific Northwest Weather


FEMA is monitoring storms in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast and across the nation.

FEMA Monitors Severe Winter Weather

According to the National Weather Service, the Pacific Northwest storm brought hurricane force winds, heavy rainfall and flooding to much of the western areas of Oregon and Washington. It produced wide-spread downed trees and several mudslides creating numerous road closures. Several rivers and streams are above flood stage and could take up to several days to retreat back into their banks.

FEMA has deployed liaisons to the Oregon and Washington's Emergency Operations Centers. FEMA's Region X Regional Response Coordination Center is in communication with both states.

FEMA's Mobile Emergency Response Support System is providing communication assets and personnel assistance to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for communications connectivity from Astoria, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. The United States Army Corps of Engineers flood fighting support and USCG search and rescue efforts are in progress.

The agency also is monitoring a storm system that tracked across the Midwest and Northeast bringing strong winds, heavy snow and freezing rain. FEMA will continue to coordinate with federal partners, tribal, state and local governments and voluntary agencies. The agency stands ready to assist any state as needed.

Take Precautions:

Citizens are urged to take precautions during this time of adverse weather. There are steps individuals can take now to protect their families.

* The first step is to begin by listening for announcements from local emergency managers regarding evacuation orders, sheltering locations and personal readiness actions.

* Emergency disaster kits should be checked to ensure they include necessary items to sustain family members for at least three days, whether they need to evacuate or shelter in place. Disaster kits and evacuation plans should be prepared for the family pet. It also is a good time to map out evacuation routes if they haven't yet been identified.

* Learn the warning signs.

* Consider purchasing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio. These radios broadcast National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other post-event information for all types of hazards, both natural (such as earthquakes and volcano activity) and environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), 24-hours a day.

Due to the heavy rainfall associated with this storm, some residents may face a greater risk of flooding. To protect your home from the dangers of flooding, consider taking some of the following measures:

Before a Flood

* Have a safety kit with drinking water, a first-aid kit, canned food, radio, flashlight and blankets.

* Know safe routes from home, work and school that are on higher ground.

* Protect your property. Most homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding. Make sure that your flood insurance policy is up to date.

During a Flood

* If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.

* Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.

* Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.

After a Flood

* Do not turn electricity back on in your home if you smell gas or if the electrical system has been flooded.

* Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by floodwaters or mudflows and throw out any such foodstuffs.
Follow directions from local officials regarding the safety of drinking water.

For more information on planning for all types of emergencies, natural and manmade, go to www.fema.gov/areyouready or www.ready.gov.

Winter Storm Preparedness Tips can be found at www.fema.gov/media/archives/2007/110607.shtm.

FEMA coordinates the Federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terrorism.

ENDS

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