FEMA urges VA, DE and MD residents to be on alert this weekend as potential Tropical Cyclone 16 impacts region

Published 1:25 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

PHILADELPHIA— FEMA Region 3 is urging Virginia, Delaware and Maryland residents in the path of Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 to remain vigilant and listen to local officials as this storm develops in the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts tropical storm conditions including heavy rainfall, strong winds, flooding, and storm surge across portions of the southeast coast and mid-Atlantic.   Widespread 2-4 inches of rainfall is expected throughout the eastern part of region, with local amounts up to 6+ inches possible.  This could lead to flash flooding.   Strong winds could lead to downed trees and power outages.  Storm surge, the abnormal rising of water generated during a hurricane or tropical system, could reach 1-4 feet and inundate parts of coastal communities.  High tides are likely to also exacerbate flooding concerns.  For those in the path of the storm, do not underestimate its power. The effects from the storm are expected to last through Sunday, Sept. 24.

FEMA Region 3 encourages all residents to follow the instructions of their local emergency managers especially if asked to evacuate. By not following evacuation orders, you not only put yourself at risk, but potentially first responders as well.

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FEMA Region 3 and its state counterparts are prepared and prepositioned to support needs that may arise. Region 3 has deployed liaison officers (LNOs) to Virginia’s emergency operations center (EOCs) to work side by side to prepare for and respond to this storm’s impact.  FEMA is also working closely with other federal agencies and non-profit organizations to coordinate a whole-of-community response to serve residents and communities in the potentially affected areas.

“I encourage residents in Virginia, Delaware and Maryland to prepare their families and homes now should they experience the impact of this storm, especially those along the coast,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “Ensure you have emergency supplies on hand and are ready to evacuate if instructed to do so. If it is safe, check on neighbors who may require assistance. This includes individuals with children, as well as older adults and people with disabilities.”

Prepare Now:

  • Now is the time to plan. It’s not too late to create a plan with your family. Visit Ready.gov/plan and use the new “Make A Plan” fillable form to make your plan and easily save an electronic copy to share with family members.
  • Have several ways to receive alerts. Download the recently updated free FEMA App (available in English and Spanish) to receive real-time emergency alerts from the National Weather Service and find a nearby shelter.
  • Follow your local emergency managers on social media:  They are the eyes and ears of your community and provide critical updates during a storm.
  • Manufactured homes are extremely vulnerable. If you live in a manufactured home, determine where you will go before the storm hits, as these types of structures may not withstand hurricane wind or surge damage.  
  • Prepare or update your emergency supply kit. Your kit should include supplies you and your family would  need for several days, including prescription medications or special medical devices. Make sure you include any needed pet supplies.
  • Check on neighbors. As you prepare your family and loved ones for a disaster, check on neighbors and folks in your community to see if they are doing the same or help them get started.
    • People with access and functional needs, including older adults, may need extra assistance to prepare for the storm. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider circumstances and needs to effectively prepare. Visit Individuals with Disabilities | Ready.gov to learn more.
  • Flood Insurance: Your National Flood Insurance Program policy will cover and reimburse certain actions you take to minimize damage to your home and belongings before a flood.

If You Encounter Flash Flooding:

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown: Do not attempt to cross floodwaters. The depth of the water is not always obvious. Moving water has tremendous power. Six inches of moving water has the potential to knock you off your feet, and a foot of water can sweep a vehicle—even a large SUV—off of the road.
  • If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle.
  • If water is moving at a high velocity and is rapidly rising in the vehicle, exit the vehicle immediately, seek refuge on the roof of the vehicle and signal for help.
  • If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately (unless water is moving at a high velocity) and move to higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf the vehicle and its occupants, sweeping them away.
  • If trapped in a building, get to the highest level. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there, signal for help. Do not climb into a closed attic to avoid getting trapped in rising floodwater.