Federal Government Supports Midwest States and Urges Caution in Response to Severe Storms
CHICAGO - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V and its federal partners continue to work closely with state and local officials in six states impacted by the deadly tornadoes and severe storms that struck the Midwest over the weekend and last night.
FEMA's regional office in Chicago, which supports Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, continues to monitor the additional severe weather forecasted for parts of the central United States today.
In Minnesota, joint state and federal preliminary damage assessments for Hennepin County are scheduled to begin tomorrow. These damage assessments are the first step in helping the governor determine whether the scope of the damages are beyond what the state is capable of handling and if additional federal assistance is needed.
Regional personnel are also completing damage assessments in southern Illinois and Indiana from severe storms and flooding that occurred last month.
While severe weather continues to affect the region, FEMA officials urge the public to listen to the instructions of state and local officials, and to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for updates and directions provided by their local officials.
"It is essential that people have emergency plans and stay tuned to weather alerts and updates when severe weather is predicted," said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Region V administrator. "Before a storm warning, families should have a safe location already identified such as a storm cellar or a basement where they can stay until the severe weather passes."
Also follow these steps to stay safe before, during and after a storm:
- Follow the instructions of state and local officials,
- Listen to local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information,
-Make sure you have a safe place to go in case severe weather approaches,
· Do not drive or walk through floodwater,
· Create an evacuation plan before severe weather or flooding occurs,
· Discuss emergency plans with your family; everyone should know what to do in case family members are not together when an emergency occurs,
· Evacuate immediately if advised to do so,
· Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as non-perishable food, medicine, maps, flashlights and first-aid kit,
- Use extreme caution when returning to storm- or flood-damaged homes or businesses.
- Familiarize yourself with severe weather watch/warning terms:
o Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
o Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
o Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
o Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
For complete tips on getting prepared for a tornado, severe storm, or flooding, visit Ready.gov or the mobile site (m.fema.gov).