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Release date:  August 27, 2017     Release Number: HQ-17-063

Storm poses significant threat to life and safety

WASHINGTON – Tropical Storm Harvey continues impacting southeast Texas communities with potentially historic amounts of rain as well as tornadoes in the greater Houston area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to urge residents and visitors in areas affected by severe weather to continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information.  The primary concern over the next few days continues to be the effects of prolonged heavy rain, which is producing flash flooding and near-record flooding for hundreds of miles.

“This remains a significant, deadly storm, and must not be underestimated,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long.  “With the continuing widespread flooding and devastation, every person in its path should heed the warnings of their local officials.”

With reports of rapidly rising water entering homes and widespread reports of impassable roadways due to extreme flooding, FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue teams are supporting swift water recuse operations in south Texas.  The United States Coast Guard is using shallow-draft vessels to provide search and rescue assistance in flooded areas, while aircrews conduct damage assessment overflights and search and rescue patrols.

Download the FEMA mobile app (in English and Spanish) for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. Residents in areas affected by this storm should use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to reconnect with loved ones.

To date, FEMA pre-positioned the following commodities at the Gulf Coast Incident Support Base and staging areas in Texas and Louisiana: more than 490,000 liters of water; 524,000 meals; 20,500 tarps, and 60 generators. FEMA is providing around-the-clock staffing at its distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas, and is shipping additional commodities as necessary and requested.

FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) are deployed to emergency operations centers (EOC) in Texas and Louisiana to support ongoing preparation and response efforts and to ensure there are no unmet needs from the states. Additional teams and staff from around the country continue deploying to the field.

For more information about Hurricane Harvey, including resources deployed and updated information, go to: www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey.

Safety

The following are important safety points if you’re in an area that has been or is still being impacted by the storm:

Listen to local officials for updates and instructions. If the storm is still impacting your area and local officials give the order to evacuate, do so immediately. If you evacuated and are planning to return home, return to the area only when local officials indicate it is safe to return.
Avoid debris and downed power lines and flood water, which may be electrically charged and hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away. Avoid downed power or utility lines as they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way as much as possible.
If your home has flood water inside or around it, don’t walk or wade in it.  The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
If you have a flooded basement in your home, or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.
If your power is out, safely use a generator or battery operated flashlights.Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.
Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner’s manual and follow the instructions.
Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home’s electrical system – they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

To learn more about what to do before, during and after severe weather, visit www.Ready.gov and www.Listo.gov.

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