Arthur prompting emergency officials to take action
Tropical Storm Arthur has yet to become a hurricane, but predictions are winds will reach 80 mph Thursday night. The storm is predicted to turn to the Northeast, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is continuing to monitor conditions.
FEMA urges residents and visitors in areas such as the North Carolina coast to closely monitor the storm and take steps now to be prepared in advance of severe weather. Most importantly, everyone should follow the direction of their state, tribal and local officials.
Voluntary evacuation has begun on Ocracoke Island.
FEMA has liaisons at the emergency operations centers in North and South Carolina along with an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) in North Carolina to coordinate with local officials.
According to the National Weather Service, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire coast of North Carolina and there is a hurricane watch from Bogue Inlet to Oregon Inlet and Pamlico Sound. A tropical storm watch is in effect for South Carolina from the Little River Inlet to the South Santee River.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm force winds may begin within 36 hours. A hurricane or tropical storm watch means that those conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 48 hours. Tropical Storm Arthur is forecast to intensify and become a hurricane by Friday. Visit hurricanes.gov and weather.gov for the latest storm track and local forecasts and warnings.
As the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur is a reminder for residents in areas prone to tropical storms and hurricanes to refresh 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 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 officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
Storm surge is often the greatest threat 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. 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 6 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 tornadoes. 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.
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.
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.
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