As you know,
Hurricane Irene is making its way up the East Coast of the United States. Make
no mistake: This is a large and destructive storm and needs to be taken
seriously, especially by the millions of people who live, work or travel in
Irene’s projected path.
Time is quickly
running out for people to make emergency preparations and move out of harm’s
According to our
meteorologists at Commerce/NOAA’s National Hurricane Center,
Irene will approach the coast of North Carolina tonight, then move north and
affect the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Irene is a large storm and its high
winds and heavy rain will affect a large area. Hurricanes like Irene are
capable of causing other serious and life-threatening hazards, such as coastal
surges, inland flooding and tornadoes.
We strongly urge all affected Commerce employees and
their families to finalize their preparations, so that they can meet their
basic needs for a minimum of 72 hours. Visit FEMA’s
preparedness sites www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov for tips on how you can make an
emergency kit and put an emergency plan in place.
To follow the latest on Hurricane Irene,
please visit NOAA’s National Hurricane Center on the Web
at www.nhc.noaa.gov/#IRENE and on
Twitter at www.twitter.com/NHC_Atlantic.
Monitor local media or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the
latest developments and check your local National Weather Service forecast at www.weather.gov. We also encourage you
to consult our Tropical
Cyclone Preparedness Guide.
please heed the direction of your local officials, and be sure to know your
evacuation route in case evacuation orders are given.
you need to seek higher ground or take cover, shelters in North Carolina and
other states are being prepared along the East Coast. You can find more
information about open Red Cross shelters at www.redcross.org.
Please be ready, too.
Commerce and NOAA
have been actively mobilizing: Our National Hurricane Center meteorologists
have been issuing forecasts, watches and warnings to the media, emergency
managers and the public. At the same time, we’re also preparing to respond if
necessary to Irene’s aftermath when National Weather Service local forecast
offices will issue a variety of severe weather alerts for inland high winds,
flooding and severe weather, including tornadoes.
The larger federal
government family is aggressively preparing for two phases of this operation–response and recovery–and has teams and assets moving into all of the
states/regions across the East Coast that will be impacted by Hurricane Irene.
We are continuing to do everything we can to support the governors and their
On a final note, I
want to thank all the NOAA staff who have been working hard this week to ensure
that Americans have the most accurate and timely storm updates, watches and
warnings—as well as those who will be working through the weekend and coming
days to see this storm through and assist in the response phase. Your service
to Commerce and the nation is deeply appreciated.