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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Hurricane Irene 2011

September 2, 2011: Hurricane Irene Response and Recovery Activities U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS will complete demobilization of all but four personnel in region 1 today, including the Disaster Medical Assistance Team which had been standing ready in Vermont to respond. HHS completed demobilization of personnel in Regions 2, 3 and 4 earlier this week. For the next few days, two members of a Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team from HHS ASPR will be providing technical assistance to the Vermont Medical Examiner’s Office on disinterred remains, and CDC will be providing technical assistance with vector control issues in Virginia.

Today CDC launched a Spanish Twitter feed (@CDCemergencia) for emergency response public health information. Tweets today will include electrical and other flood-related safety measures, clean up safety measures, and mental health. CDC is also working on a carbon monoxide Tweet. CDC JIC will continue to support environmental health communications requirements throughout recovery.

HHS agencies will be supporting states in meeting short-term and long-term recovery needs.

The Administration on Aging will continue to work with AoA regions and state and area agencies on aging to monitor impacts of Hurricane Irene on older adults and individuals with disabilities.  AoA stands ready to assist states that report unmet needs and/or disrupted aging network services such as meals for home bound seniors.

The Food and Drug Administration district offices will be working with state and territory counterpart regulators in impacted areas, assessing risk to affected industries including food, drugs, medical devices, pet food and pet drugs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will continue to work with state behavioral health disaster coordinators in the impacted states, making resources available as needed.  In preparation for Depression 13, people in the Gulf region experiencing distress can still call 1-877-985-5990 to receive crisis counseling. 

The Administration for Children and Families will be focusing on rapid reconstitution of human services delivery systems and meeting new human services needs caused or exacerbated by the storm. ACF Regional and Program Offices will remain engaged with grantees in the four impacted regions impacted and provide support through ACF programs including child care, child support enforcement, child welfare, domestic violence prevention and services, Head Start, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families.

HHS agency websites for hurricane preparedness, response and recovery material are continually updated and include personal tips to keep yourself and your family healthy before, during and after a natural disaster along with links to Ready.gov and other state and federal partners. All HHS public health preparedness, response and recovery information is available through a one-stop website, www.phe.gov.

August 31, 2011: Hurricane Irene Response and Recovery Activities U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS demobilized personnel in Regions 3 and 4 earlier this week and continues to work with state and federal partners within Region 1. As requested a Disaster Medical Assistance Team is stands ready to assist in Vermont. To date there have been no requests for public health emergency declarations from any of the states impacted by the storm for response efforts.

  • HHS agencies have begun working with impacted states and territories on potential public health and environmental concerns and on recovery.
  • The Administration for Children and Families is focusing on assessments of damage to the human services infrastructure, rapid reconstitution of human services delivery systems, and meeting new human services needs caused or exacerbated by the storm. ACF Regional and Program Offices are actively in contact with grantees in the four impacted regions, including state, tribal, and territorial government agencies, to determine the operating status of ACF programs, including child care, child support enforcement, child welfare, domestic violence prevention and services, Head Start, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families.
  • The Food and Drug Administration district offices continue to work with state and territory counterpart regulators in impacted areas to look at affected industries including food, drugs, medical devices, pet food and pet drugs.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration continues to work with state behavioral health disaster coordinators in the impacted states, making resources available as needed. People experiencing distress from the storm can call 1-877-SAMHSA7 to receive materials and referrals to local crisis lines.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with private industry such as insurance adjusters, grocery stores and home improvement stores, to provide fact sheets for people impacted by the storm and subsequent flooding in Regions 1 and 2. Topics include mold, food and water safety, carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, safe reentry, and worker safety.
  • In addition this information is being distributed through social media, and HHS is re-distributing public service announcements with this information to radio and TV stations in Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island through state broadcast associations. HHS is also reminding state and local public health and emergency management agencies of the prepared text messages on these topics which they can distribute to their communities. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp. The prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.
  • All HHS public health response and recovery information including personal tips to keep yourself and your family healthy after the storm can be found at www.phe.gov, which continues to use a multi-region format to provide people along the East Coast with response and recovery information relevant to their area. HHS agency websites for hurricane response and recovery material continue to be updated and include links to Ready.gov and other state and federal partners. 
August 30, 2011: Hurricane Irene Preparedness Steps U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    To date there have been no requests for public health emergency declarations from any of the states impacted by the storm.

    • HHS demobilized personnel in Regions 3 and 4. HHS continues to work with state and federal partners within Regions 1 and 2. The FEMA ambulance contract remains in place assisting NY in repatriating members from their hospitals and nursing homes. As requested a Disaster Medical Assistance Team is standing by in Vermont.  
    • HHS agencies are looking forward at potential public health and environmental concerns and are beginning work with states on recovery. FDA district offices are working with counterpart regulators to look at affected industries – food, drugs, medical devices, pet food and pet drugs.  The FDA New York district office is working with New York Dept. of Agriculture and markets to assess where power outages and flooding may have affected FDA-regulated businesses. The FDA New England district office has contacted regulatory counterparts in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont to share information and determine work distribution. FDA's San Juan District visited more than 160 firms and performed risk assessments which in two cases have shown the need to destroy products damaged by the hurricane. These efforts are being performed collaboratively with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Department of Health officials. With the storm now past and need for sheltering operations in many areas diminishing, the Administration for Children and Families is shifting its focus to assessment of damage to the human services infrastructure, rapid reconstitution of human services delivery systems, and meeting new human services needs caused or exacerbated by the storm. ACF Regional and Program Offices are actively in contact with grantees in the four impacted regions, including state, tribal, and territorial government agencies, to determine the operating status of ACF programs, including child care, child support enforcement, child welfare, domestic violence prevention and services, Head Start, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families.
    • The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) continues to work with state behavioral disaster coordinators in the impacted states, making resources available as needed. People experiencing distress from the storm can call 1-877-SAMHSA7 to receive materials and referrals to local crisis lines.
    • The CDC JIC is identifying areas in regions 1 and 2 where power is out and cell phone towers are in service in order to provide text messaging on environmental health issues such as mold, food and water safety, carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, safe reentry, and worker safety. The CDC JIC is also exploring new ways to provide hard copy fact sheets on these topics to people in regions 1 and 2 impacted by the storm.
    • This information is being distributed as well through social media including through CDC’s Emergency Twitter Profile (http://twitter.com/#!/cdcemergency) and in coordination with state health officials, HHS distributed public service announcements with this information to radio and TV stations from South Carolina to Maine through state broadcast associations. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp.  
    • The information is available to state public health and other agencies as a series of prepared text messages they can distribute to the public as well. The prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.  Yesterday, CDC sent a text message with generator safety tips to 96,660 people in 25 affected zip codes in Maryland and D.C.  
    • All HHS public health response and recovery information including personal tips to keep yourself and your family healthy after the storm can be found at www.phe.gov, which continues to use a multi-region format to provide people along the East Coast with response and recovery information relevant to their area. HHS agency websites for hurricane response and recovery material continue to be updated and include links to Ready.gov and other state and federal partners.

    August 29, 2011: The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services will be working with states along the East coast on recovery from Hurricane Irene. So far states have not requested public health emergency declarations.

    • Today HHS will begin demobilizing personnel in the southeast and the National Capital Region. These personnel were pre-positioned to be at the ready for any public health or medical support states may have needed in response to Hurricane Irene. These personnel were pre-positioned to be at the ready for any public health or medical support states may have needed in response to Hurricane Irene.
    • HHS had established an Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) in Charlotte, NC, and staffed the Regional Response Coordination Center, and incident management teams in South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as the North Carolina Dept. of Health and North Carolina Emergency Operations Center. The Disaster Medical Assistance Team from Arkansas that had deployed to Charlotte, along with its DMAT cache and other medical equipment and supply caches is in the process of demobilizing. In addition HHS was maintaining an IRCT in MD and personnel to staff that Regional Response Coordination Center and incident management teams in Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. A DMAT from Florida was released from alert. The team had been on alert to respond for response to Region 3.
    • HHS personnel remain deployed in regions 1 and 2 as states in these regions assess their response and recovery needs.
      • In Region 2, HHS continues staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center. HHS worked with the State of New York to activate the FEMA ambulance contract for support with hospital evacuation. Of those ambulances, 57 currently on Long Island will remain in service and an additional 25 ambulances are being sent to Long Island, totaling 82 ambulances.
      • HHS is maintaining the HHS IRCT in New England for operational control of HHS forces within Regions 1 and 2. HHS personnel continue to staff the Regional Response Coordination Center and incident management teams in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; VA personnel are staffing incident management teams in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. A Public Health Service Rapid Deployed Force team and DMATs from Ohio and Kentucky remain in CT. A DMAT Strike Team from MN-1 remains deployed in support of a potential Federal Medical Station. The FMS with its equipment and supplies were transported to NE ahead of the storm.
    • As states move into their recovery phases, FDA district offices starting to work with counterpart regulators to look at affected industries – food, drugs, medical devices, pet food and pet drugs.  FDA's San Juan District has been visiting sites and performing risk assessments, which have resulted in the destruction of some products. These efforts are being performed collaboratively with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Department of Health officials. As the storm reached the East Coast of the US, FDA districts reached out to their state regulatory counterparts to determine their needs for assistance.
    • The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) made resources available to states for assistance in storm response and recovery. People experiencing distress from the storm can call 877-SAMHSA7 to receive materials and referrals to local crisis lines. SAMHSA continues to work with state behavioral disaster coordinators in the impacted states, all of which are well integrated in the response and recovery efforts.
    • The Administration for Children and Families is reaching out to State human services agencies to assess storm impacts to human services infrastructure, including services for children, families, and vulnerable or at-risk populations.  In the impacted regions, ACF Regional Offices have been providing subject matter expertise in support of the human services dimension of the mass care and sheltering effort, including the deployment of the Region III Regional Emergency Management Specialist (REMS) deployed to the Regional Response Coordination Center; a joint ACF-AoA mission to provide expertise on children’s and senior’s needs to the Region III Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT), and the Region VI REMS is deploying today to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center.  With the storm past, ACF staff members are transitioning from a focus on supporting emergency response to identifying human services infrastructure impacts and preparing to support States’ efforts to meet human services needs caused by the storm. 
    • The CDC JIC continues to push messages about carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, safe reentry, and worker safety as well as reinforcing food and water safety messaging, including through CDC’s Emergency Twitter Profile (http://twitter.com/#!/cdcemergency)
    • In coordination with state health officials, HHS distributed public service announcements to radio and TV stations from South Carolina to Maine through state broadcast associations with post-storm public health tips. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp. HHS also made a series of prepared text messages available to states for distribution to the public on how to protect health after a hurricane. The prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.  In addition, CDC sent a text message to 96,660 people in 25 affected zip codes in Maryland and D.C. regarding generator safety tips.
    • An HHS photo essay is available on http://www.phe.gov/emergency/events/irene/ambulance depicting some of the department’s storm-related efforts. HHS agency websites for hurricane response and recovery material continue to be updated and include links to Ready.gov and other state and federal partners. All of the HHS agencies’ sites can be accessed easily through a consolidated site, www.phe.gov/emergency which continues to use a multi-region format to provide people along the East Coast with response and recovery information relevant to their area.

    August 28, 2011:  The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services remains at the ready to provide public health and medical support to states along the east coast impacted by Hurricane Irene. To date these states have not requested public health emergency declarations or public health or medical support.

    • The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has made resources available to states for assistance in storm response and recovery. People experiencing distress from the storm can call 877-SAMHSA7 to receive materials and referrals to local crisis lines. SAMHSA continues to work with state behavioral disaster coordinators in the impacted states, all of which are well integrated in the response efforts.
    • The National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service remain activated, and HHS personnel continue to staff teams in each region, ready to respond to any state requests for public health or medical support.
      • In Region 1, the HHS Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) in New England is maintaining operational control of HHS forces within Regions 1 and 2. HHS personnel continue to staff the Regional Response Coordination Center and incident management teams in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; VA personnel are staffing the incident management teams in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. A Public Health Service Rapid Deployed Force team and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from Ohio and Kentucky remain in Connecticut. A DMAT Strike Team from Minnesota remains deployed in support of a potential Federal Medical Station. The FMS with its equipment and supplies were transported to NE ahead of the storm.
      • In Region 2, HHS continues staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center. Prior to the storm, HHS worked the state of New York in activating the FEMA ambulance contract to bring more than 175 ground ambulances to NYC for hospital evacuation which was complete prior to the storm reaching that area. HHS pharmacists/COTRS remain prepared to respond as needed.
      • In Region 3, HHS is maintaining an Incident Response Coordination Team in Maryland and continues to staff the Regional Response Coordination Center, the incident management teams in Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. A DMAT from Florida remains on alert to respond in Region 3.
      • In Region 4, HHS is maintaining an Incident Response Coordination Team in Charlotte, NC, and continues to staff the Regional Response Coordination Center, and incident management teams in South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as the North Carolina Dept of Health and NC EOC. A DMAT from Arkansas deployed to Charlotte, and DMAT caches and other medical equipment and supply caches are deployed to North Carolina ahead of the storm. 
    • The CDC EOC today activated the CDC JIC will be pushing messages about flood safety, power outage safety, carbon monoxide poisoning, and will reinforce FDA’s food and water safety messaging. As the storm approached the southeast, CDC activated the public health radio network which provides CDC, state, territorial, and local health departments with non-infrastructure dependent redundant communications capability.
    • CDC continues to use CDC’s Emergency Twitter Profile (http://twitter.com/#!/cdcemergency) to distribute targeted instructional information, reinforcing the message to heed local emergency management and public health instructions particularly regarding evacuation.
    • In coordination with state health officials, HHS distributed public service announcements to radio and TV stations from South Carolina to Maine through state broadcast associations. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp
    • HHS also made a series of prepared text messages available to states for distribution to the public on how to protect health during and after a hurricane. The prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.
    • HHS agency websites for hurricane preparedness and response material continue to be updated and include links to Ready.gov and other state and federal partners.

    August 27, 2011:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is poised to provide public health and medical support to states along the east coast as Hurricane Irene makes landfall.

    • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration is working with state behavioral disaster coordinators in the impacted states, all of which are well integrated in the response efforts.  SAMHSA has made resources available to states for assistance.  People experiencing distress from the storm can call 877-SAMHSA7 to receive materials and referrals to local crisis lines. 
    • The National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service were activated in anticipation of the need for medical teams and hospital evacuation support.
    • HHS has pre-positioned personnel in each region to support states impacted by the storm.
      • In Region 1, HHS established in Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) in NE which has assumed operational control of our forces within Regions 1 and 2. A Public Health Service Rapid Deployed Force team and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from Ohio and Kentucky are in CT ready to provide support wherever needed. A DMAT Strike Team from MN-1 is deployed in support of a potential Federal Medical Station. The FMS with its equipment and supplies were transported to NE ahead of the storm. HHS personnel are also staffing the RRCC, the IMAT-CT, IMAT-MA, and the IMAT-RI, and VA personnel are staffing the IMAT-ME, IMAT-NH, and IMAT-VT.
      • In Region 2, HHS is staffing the RRCC and worked with the State to activate the FEMA ambulance contract to bring more than 175 ground ambulances to NYC to support hospital evacuations which are now complete. HHS pharmacists/COTRS are prepared to respond as needed.
      • In Region 3, HHS established an Incident Response Coordination Team in MD and staffing the RRCC, the IMATs in MD, VA, and DE. A DMAT from Florida is on alert to respond in Region 3.
      • In Region 4, HHS established an Incident Response Coordination Team in Charlotte, NC, and is staffing the RRCC, and IMATs in SC and NC, as well as the NC Dept of Health and NC EOC. A DMAT from Arkansas deployed to Charlotte, and DMAT caches and other medical equipment and supply caches are deployed to NC. 
      • HHS divisions continue to provide public affairs support for each HHS Incident Response Coordination Team.
    • Today CDC activated the public health radio network which provides CDC, state, territorial, and local health departments with non-infrastructure dependent redundant communications capability – a back up method of communication when all else fails.
    • CDC has distributed a media advisory today with tips on staying healthy before, during and after a hurricane and earlier this week FDA issued a news release for hurricane preparedness describing how to ensure safety of food, water, medical supplies, and pets.
    • Public service announcements and a series of prepared text messages are available to states for distribution to the public on how to protect health during and after a hurricane. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp and the prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.
    • HHS agency websites for hurricane preparedness and response material are being continually updated and link to state and federal partners including Ready.gov.

    August 26, 2011:  The National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service have been activated in anticipation of the need for medical teams and hospital evacuation support.

    • HHS is pre-positioning personnel in each region to support states impacted by the storm.
      • In Region 1, HHS has established in Incident Response Coordination Team in New England which has assumed operational control of our forces within Regions 1 and 2. HHS personnel are staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center, the FEMA incident management teams in Conn., Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
      • A U.S. Public Health Service Rapid Deployed Force team and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from Ohio and Kentucky are traveling to New England. A DMAT Strike Team from Minnesota is being deployed in support of a potential Federal Medical Station in New England. The FMS with its equipment and supplies is being transported to the region. HHS is responding to requests for a liaison officer from CDC and staffing on FEMA incident management teams in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
      • In Region 2, HHS is staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center and activating the FEMA ambulance contract to bring 175 ground ambulances to NYC at the state’s request. HHS pharmacists/COTRS are prepared to respond as needed. 
      • In Region 3, HHS is establishing an Incident Response Coordination Team in Frederick, Maryland, and staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center, the FEMA incident management team in Virginia, and is preparing to staff incident management teams in Maryland and Delaware. A DMAT from Florida is on alert to respond in Region 3.
      • In Region 4, HHS is establishing an Incident Response Coordination Team in Charlotte, N.C., and is staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center and FEMA incident management teams in South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as the North Carolina Dept. of Health and North Carolina Emergency Operations Center. A DMAT from Arkansas travels to Charlotte today, along with caches of equipment and supplies.
    • HHS divisions are providing public affairs support for each HHS Incident Response Coordination Team.
    • FDA issued a news release for hurricane preparedness describing how to ensure safety of food, water, medical supplies, and pets. (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm269766.htm)
    • CDC is distributing a media advisory today with tips on staying healthy before, during and after a hurricane.
    • CDC is using CDC’s Emergency Twitter Profile (http://twitter.com/#!/cdcemergency) to distribute targeted instructional information, reinforcing the government-wide message to heed local emergency management and public health instructions particularly regarding evacuation.
    • Public service announcements and a series of prepared text messages have been made available to states for distribution to the public on how to protect health during and after a hurricane. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp and the prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.
    • HHS agency websites for hurricane preparedness and response material have been updated. FDA now has material available in English, Spanish and French on what consumers need to know about on food and water safety during hurricanes, power outages and floods. These websites link to Ready.gov. HHS continues to update the PHE.gov site which incorporates public health information from throughout the federal family. The site uses a three-feature format to allow messaging on the Southeast, Mid Atlantic and New England. The newsroom (www.phe.gov/newsroom) hosts a number of news feeds and links to social media sites in a one-stop-shop format to assist the public with accessing a complete picture in as close to real-time as possible.  The site is also accessible from smart devices. 

    As of 5:00 a.m. EDT, August 26, Hurricane Irene was located about 420 miles South-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving to the North at 14 mph.

    Maximum sustained winds remain near 110 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outward 90 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 290 miles. Irene is now a category 2 hurricane. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so.

    Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 6 to 120 inches over the East Coast of the U.S.

    A Hurricane Warning has been issued for North Carolina-Virginia border to Sandy Hook, NJ, including Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay South of Smith Point as well as for the Little River Inlet, NC, northward to Sandy Hook, NJ, including the Pamlico, Albemarle, and Currituck Sounds, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, South of Smith Point.

    A Hurricane Watch has been issued from North of Sandy Hook, NJ, to the mouth of the Merrimack River, including Long Island, Long Island Sound, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

    A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point northward and the Tidal Potomac.

    Tropical storm force winds are expected within the Southern portion of the warning area along the U.S. East Coast by late today. Hurricane force winds are expected to reach the Hurricane Warning area tonight or Saturday morning.

    Surf and swells generated by Irene are affecting portions of the Southeastern Coast of the U.S. These swells are expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

    Storm surge in areas of onshore flow near the center of Irene expected. A extremely dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 11 feet above ground level in the Hurricane Warning area in North Carolina near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.

    New York
    The decision for mandatory evacuations will be made August 27 at 8:00 a.m. EDT. Senior centers, hospitals, and nursing homes in low-lying areas in NY must evacuate. NJ is recommending voluntary evacuations for coastal areas.

    Puerto Rico
    Currently 12 shelters open with 549 occupants on the island. Evacuations for 400-800 citizens in Guayanilla Municipality are ongoing due to flooding. However, approximately 73,000 customers are without power and 36,250 customers are without water as of 1:00 a.m. EDT, Aug 26. Seven medical facilities (1 hospital and 6 diagnostic treatment centers) remain on generator power. All ports and airports are open.

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    The USVI Water and Power Authority continue to experience water shortages affecting its St. Thomas customers; water is being rationed; service should be fully restored by August 30, 2011.

    Virginia, Maryland and Delaware
    Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Virginia Beach, VA and Ocean City, MD. Evacuations for visitors in coastal regions of Delaware has also been issued .

    North Carolina
    Mandatory evacuations for Ocracoke Island and Currituck (tourists), as well as Dare and Hyde Counties in North Carolina and a mandatory evacuation order for Tyrell County will be issued later today, as well as Beaufort County will evacuate high-risk areas today.

    August 25, 2011:  The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services is poised to provide public health and medical support to states along the east coast in response to Hurricane Irene.

    • National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service have been activated in anticipation of the need for medical teams, public health teams, and hospital support. Two NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Teams have been activated and more are on call.
    • Caches of medical equipment and supplies are ready to be deployed wherever needed along the East Coast.
    • HHS personnel are currently deployed to assist states and federal partners as emergency operations and coordination centers gear up for storm response.
    • Within the National Capitol Region, the HHS Emergency Management Group has been stood up in the Secretary’s Operations Center and representatives have deployed to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center. Logistics personnel are in Frederick, Md., and an HHS Incident Response Coordination Team is being pre-positioned along the East Coast.
    • From Maine to New Jersey, HHS representatives are in the Regional Response Coordination Center and on the FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams including in Puerto Rico, and within state emergency operations centers and state departments of health. In addition, an HHS Incident Response Coordination Team is being pre-positioned with the Regional Response Coordination Center in Maynard, Mass.
    • In the mid-Atlantic and southeast, HHS has deployed liaisons to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Centers in Pennsylvania and Georgia. HHS experts are also on the FEMA Incident Management Assessment Teams in North Carolina and are ready to staff teams in Maryland and Virginia should they be requested.
    • HHS agencies will work with the impacted U.S. territories in their ongoing recovery and future preparedness efforts. Already the FDA San Juan office has begun increased surveillance of FDA-regulated industries to monitor for assistance needs and ensure compliance with FDA production/manufacturing standards for food, drugs, devices, and biologics.
    • HHS has made public service announcements and a series of prepared text messages available to states for distribution to the public on how to protect health during and after a hurricane. The PSAs can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp and the prepared text messages can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/textmessages.asp.
    • The director of CDC’s Environmental Health Center, Dr. Chris Portier, is tweeting general hurricane preparedness messages at http://twitter.com/#!/CDC_DrCPortier. As landfall on the East Coast becomes imminent, CDC will transition to CDC’s Emergency Twitter Profile (http://twitter.com/#!/cdcemergency) with more targeted and instructional information.
    • HHS division websites have been updated with the latest hurricane preparedness and response material, including FDA’s newest material available in English, Spanish and French on what consumers need to know about on food and water safety during hurricanes, power outages and floods. Information on emergency preparedness and response from HHS divisions can be found quickly at www.phe.gov/emergency

    As of 5:00 a.m. EDT, August 25, Hurricane Irene was located about 80 miles east-southeast of Nassau and about 735 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving to the northwest at 12 mph.

    Maximum sustained winds remain near 115 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outward 70 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 255 miles. Irene is now a category 3 hurricane. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so.

    Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches across the Bahamas.

    A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the North Carolina Coast, north of Surf City, NC, to the North Carolina-Virginia border including the Pamlico, Albermarle, and Currituck sounds.

    A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of Edisto Beach, SC, to Surf City, NC.  Surf and swells generated by Irene will begin affecting portions of the Southeastern Coast of the U.S. today. These swells are expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

    The core will move over the northwestern Bahamas today. A turn toward the north-northwest and then toward the north is expected today and tonight and pass well offshore of the East Coast of Central and North Florida tonight and early Friday.

    Storm surge in areas of onshore flow near the center of Irene expected. A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels over the Bahamas. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves. (NOAA, NHC)

    Mandatory evacuations will be in effect at 5:00 a.m. EDT on today for Ocracoke Island, NC. Voluntary evacuation for New Hanover County (Wilmington) will begin at 6:00 a.m. EDT today. Additional NC counties are expected to issue voluntary and mandatory evacuations today.

    The State of Connecticut has initiated a pre-activation of the Emergency Operations Framework procedures.

    August 24, 2011:  As of 5:00 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Irene was located about 370 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas, moving to the west-northwest at 9 mph. A gradual turn to the Northwest is expected later today. On the forecast track, the core of Irene will move across the Southeastern and Central Bahamas today and over the Northwestern Bahamas on Thursday.

    Maximum sustained winds remain near 110 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outward 40 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. Irene is now a Category 2 Hurricane, and Irene will likely become a major hurricane later today.

    Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches across the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides in areas of steep terrain.

    Storm surge in areas of onshore flow near the center of Irene; a dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels over the central and Northwestern Bahamas and as much as 5 to 8 feet above normal tide levels over the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.

    Puerto Rico

    • Eight shelters open with 389 occupants.
    • Approximately 191,000 customers are without power on PR and approximately 88,000 customers are without water on PR.
    • All ports and airports are open.
    • Evacuations: 500-800 individuals are being evacuated by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico around the Guayanilla Municipality due to flooding from approximately 16 inches of rain in the last 48 hours. Estimates of up to 4000 citizens may be affected as flooding area grows over next couple of days.
    • The FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) and the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) Captain of the Port are monitoring the situation.

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    • Approximately 96,000 customers without power in USVI and approximately 25% of customers without water in USVI.
    • All ports and airports are open. (NOAA, NWS, National Hurricane Center, FEMA Region II, FEMA HQ, USCG)

    August 23, 2011:  As of 5:00 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Irene was located about 105 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island and moving to the west-northwest at 12 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through today, followed by a turn toward the northwest tonight and tomorrow morning. On the forecast track, the core of Irene will pass to the north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti this morning, near or over the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas by tonight, and be near the central Bahamas by early tomorrow.

    Maximum sustained winds remain near 100 mph with higher gusts, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. Irene is now a Category 2 Hurricane, and Irene could become a major hurricane later today or Wednesday.

    Irene is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches across Puerto Rico. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are expected over Northern Hispaniola, with isolated maximum amounts of up to 10 inches possible over higher terrain. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides in areas of steep terrain.

    Puerto Rico

    • 5 shelters open with 145 occupants.
    • 395,000 customers without power on PR as of 11:00 p.m. EDT, Aug 22.
    • San Juan airport fully open, all other airports in Puerto Rico remain closed.
    • Government employees expected to report for work today. Schools will remain closed until Wednesday, August 23.
    • Communication systems largely unaffected, and back to normal.
    • National Guard activated.
    • The Port of San Juan is open to all vessel traffic. All other ports in PR remain closed

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    • All shelters closed as of 6:00 p.m. on August 22.
    • Major power outages on St. Croix (exact numbers unknown – island population 110,000).
    • Telephone service (voice) down on St. Croix but texting and data still operational.
    • All airports are fully operational.
    • Requesting sandbags from USACE (50,000 for St. Croix; 50,000 for St. Thomas).
    • All ports in St. Thomas, Limetree Bay and Krause Lagoca in St. Croix are open to all vessel traffic. All other ports remain closed

    August 22, 2011:  At 5:00 a.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Irene was located along the north coast of Puerto Rico about 25 miles west of San Juan. Irene is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph. This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track the center of Irene will move off the north coast of Puerto Rico this morning and move near or over the northern coastal regions of the Dominican Republic this afternoon and tonight.

    Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Irene is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles mainly northwest and northeast of the center.

    The Hurricane Watch has been discontinued for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tropical storm conditions are occurring in the Virgin Islands, eastern Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques and will continue to spread across Puerto Rico this morning. Hurricane conditions are expected over Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra this morning. The highest winds are likely to occur over areas of elevated terrain.

    Irene is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches across Puerto Rico the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands (including Haiti). Isolated maximum amounts of up to 20 inches are possible. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides in areas of steep terrain.

    A storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels is expected along the coast of Puerto Rico as well as in the remainder of the tropical storm warning area near the coast the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.

    See www.nhc.noaa.gov/ for the latest information:

    Puerto Rico

    • 64 shelters open with 600 occupants.
    • 111,400 customers without power on PR. The Islands of Vieques and Culebra are also without power.
    • 22 fire reports.
    • No water outages.
    • San Juan airport closed; expected to re-open today.
    • Government and schools closed today.
    • National Guard activated.

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    • Shelters open:
      • St. Croix: 1 shelter open with 5 occupants; 1 special needs shelter open.
      • St. Thomas: 1 shelter open; 1 special needs shelter open.
      • St. John: 1 shelter open; 1 special needs shelter open.
    • Major power outages on St. Croix (exact numbers unknown).
    • Telephone service (voice) down on St. Croix but texting and data still operational.
    • St. Thomas and St. Croix airports closed; expected to re-open today.
    • Requesting sandbags from USACE (50,000 for St. Croix; 50,000 for St. Thomas).

     

     

     

     

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    • This page last reviewed: September 02, 2011