WASHINGTON, D.C.–At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to work closely with states affected this weekend by severe storms in parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Yesterday, President Obama issued emergency disaster declarations for all counties within the states of West Virginia and Ohio in response to requests from the Governors of those states and directed FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in those states.
FEMA is strategically positioning supplies closer to impacted areas of West Virginia and Ohio. Emergency generators, needed to supply critical infrastructure such as shelters, and water are positioned in staging areas in Morgantown and Charleston, West Virginia and Columbus, Ohio to support state and local response needs.
In addition, FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., and the Regional Response Coordination Centers in Chicago, Ill., and Philadelphia, Pa., continue to be activated to support state requests for assistance. FEMA has deployed incident management assistance teams and liaison officers to the state emergency operations centers in Ohio and West Virginia. A Mobile Emergency Response Support team and mobile communication office vehicles are en route to West Virginia to provide secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations.
FEMA also remains in close contact with our federal partners including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service forecast offices. In coordination with FEMA, DOE has deployed experts to West Virginia and FEMA Headquarters in Washington D.C., and is supporting FEMA’s regional offices in Chicago, Ill., and Philadelphia, Pa. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deployed personnel to Ohio to support assessments and generator installations for emergency power. The West Virginia National Guard is also actively engaged in a generator mission for emergency power.
Yesterday, President Obama spoke with the governors of Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia, to express his condolences for the loss of life and his concern for individuals and first responders still confronting the destruction and loss of power that is impacting communities as a result. Over the weekend, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano also spoke with the governors of Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke with the District of Columbia Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. The President has directed FEMA to ensure that state and local officials in impacted areas have the support necessary to respond to the severe weather events.
“The threat of severe weather and heat continues to be a risk in many affected areas, and we urge individuals to continue to follow the instructions of state and local officials,” said Fugate. “People should monitor conditions and check on family, friends, and neighbors who may be impacted by the heat and loss of power. FEMA continues to stay in close contact with state and local officials on the ground, and is supporting response efforts led by those teams.”
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the potential exists for another round of scattered thunderstorms capable of producing large hail and damaging winds across parts of the Dakotas through the Midwest to the Ohio Valley and Delmarva Sunday night and Monday. This is an evolving situation and weather developments will be constantly monitored. NWS has issued Heat Advisories in many areas that have been affected by the severe weather and may be without power, and urges everyone to take safety precautions due to the high temperatures.
FEMA continues to work closely with our state and local partners in impacted areas to ensure there are no unmet needs as they continue to respond.