tv FEMA Briefing on Hurricane Florence CSPAN September 13, 2018 9:30am-9:54am EDT
>> without speaking to any classified specifics, i find it hard to believe that intelligence service has not been trying to collect information on policymakers influence. >> do you believe it's fair to say without sharing anything in the classified nature here that prior administrations would have been aware of this? >> well, certainly the last administration was aware. and i think before that -- the latest fema briefing on hurricane florence expected to hit the carolina coast early today or tomorrow. >> good morning. i appreciate everybody being here. i appreciate the job the media has been doing to get the preparedness message out to our citizens today. i'm aware of a recent article with regards to an ongoing investigation with regards to fema vehicle usage. every day we work closely with
the oig to make meaningful improvements and make sure we run programs and policies according to regulation, and bottom line, we'll continue to fully cooperate with any investigation that goes on. and push forward and keep going. keep moving on. here is the thing. regardless of an article, right now i'm 100% focussed on floyd. that's where our attention needs to be. we're going invite in our federal partners. florence. excuse me. >> reporter: you are following the statutes as it relates to the use -- >> we'll get to floyd -- florence. excuse me. we'll get to florence and we're going to push forward and concentrate on the life/safety
issues. all right. so with regards to florence, just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of the storm came down to a cat 2, don't let your guard down. the storm surge associated with the storm hasn't changed. it remains the same. here is why, the as the system is encroaching on the coast, the wind field expanded. what you'll see in the next coming hours the wind bands that far proceed the center of circulation will push water against the coast. more importantly, up the back bay and inland areas. storm surge is not a problem just along the coastline. it's going to be a major problem way up into the streams and tributaries that come out of sound areas that push up into the sounds like the west sides of the pamcoe sounds.
this is a very dangerous storm. many of you have been placed under evacuation. we're asking citizens to please heed the warning. your time is running out. the ocean will start rising along the coast, and in the back bay and inland areas and the sound areas within a matter of hours. your time to get out of those areas of storm surge indication is coming to a close. i can't emphasize that enough. with that, the other thing that is going to happen is not only are we going see high winds, 110 miles per hour sustained winds coming upon the coast, the wind field is large. there are hurricane force winds that extend far out from the center of circulation that will not only inundate the coast and you'll see high inland winds as the storm starts to come in and push into the coast. coupled with that is copious amounts of rainfall. the system is pulling a lot of moisture out of the ocean. you're already seeing rain bands come along the carolina
shoreline. unfortunately, these rain bands will be with us for several days. we're going to, you know, forecasters are basically indicating feet of rain. not inches in portions of the carolinas and into virginia. this is a dangerous storm. flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately. that's what we're about to see. please keep that in mind. the other thing, is that i want everybody to know that fema and our federal partners have fully prepositioned in support of our state and local partners, you know, here again we're here to help our governors achieve their response and goals. emergency management is a team sport. a community effort. as this system pushes through right now, we're focussed largely on life safety, supporting evacuation movements, supporting mass care. as this system pushes through, starts to exit, the carolinas and virginias and the threat ceases, we're going to be kused on stabilizing what we call
community lifelines. for example, we have to quickly understand the damage that has been done to the transportation systems, the communications systems, the power systems, and we're positioning and have been positioning for multiple days to be ready to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can. let me set the expectations. this is dangerous storm. we call them disasters because they bring things. the power could go out for a number of days. it could go out for many weeks. it's hard to say at this point. so not only that, but many of you who have evacuated from the carolina coastlines are going to be displaced for awhile, particularly where the areas receive the highest amount of storm surge. so, you know, we need people to get their mind sets right. that disasters are frustrating. and it takes time to get the infrastructure back up and running, but we're going to do everything we can to push forward as quickly as we to get
things back up and running along with our state partners in the private sector who owns a large portion of the critical infrastructure that will be impacted. so with that, i want to quickly turn it over to our partners dr. neil jacobsen. >> okay. good morning. florence is a category ii hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles an hour. it is moving northwest and presently centered 170 miles east southeast of wilmington, north carolina at 220 miles east of myrtle beach, south carolina. hurricane fords winds extend outward 80 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend nearly 200 miles out from the center. florence is forecast to slow down as it approaches the coast. so even today as we see outer rain bands from florence move into the outer banks of north
carolina, landfall is not expected for another 36 hours. sometime friday afternoon, friday evening, or even early saturday morning. this slow-moving, very large hurricane will bring a long-term extreme rainstorm surge and hurricane force wind threat to eastern north carolina and south carolina into the weekend. in north carolina, we're particularly concerned about the sound and the rivers where 9 to 12 feet of storm surge are forecast. and the beaches from the outer banks to the wilmington area 6 to 9 feet are forecast. as far as rainfall, we're still forecasting 20 to 30 inches possibly 40 inches or more, especially in eastern north carolina and northeastern south carolina. in addition to all of that, there's also a tornado watch in effect for eastern north carolina today and tomorrow. the next advisory from the
national hurricane center will be issued at 11:00 eastern time. >> i would like to take an opportunity to emphasize the expansive this storm. the tropical storm force winds extend out 200 miles and the hurricane force winds extend 80. this is a tremendously large storm. when it slows down, you'll see the expansive wind field will pile up water along the coast. in addition to that, there's going to be a tremendous amount of rain. as the storm slows down, there's going to be lots of coastal flooding and with that combined with the onshore flow. it's going to be hard for the water to evacuate. you're going to see a tremendous amount of inland flooding. i would like to thank the noaa core officers. in addition to that, i would like to thank the air force for providing reconnoissance flights, as well. >> thank you. next we have our partners
with the american red cross, charlie english to give us an update on the mass care efforts underway. >> thank you, administrator long. we appreciate your leadership and your inclusiveness of our faith-based and private nonprofit partners on the team. thank you very much for that. red cross and other private nonprofits continue to prestage resources in the atlantic area. just like to settle the expectations in the public has not experienced staying in a shelter in the past, you'll be safe, but conditions are spartan. we ask you to bring your toothbrush, your pillow, other comfort items with you, and we'll keep you safe until the storm passes. then post landfall and post impact, you'll be more comfortable situation for you. but, also, i would like to thank the opportunity to say this
storm is a significant event. our resources will be stretched. if you're fortune enough not to be impacted, we would like to have you consider being a volunteer. you can do that at redcross.org or any of the other fine agencies that you choose to volunteer with. thank you. >> and, folks, one of the most powerful arms of the whole community is the nongovernmental organizations like the red cross and here again, when the storm passes, this is about neighbor helping neighbor to the federal government. if you're looking to get involved and you're not in, you know, the carolinas but looking to get involved to help out the situation, once this has passed go to infoad.org or redcross.org. thank you, again. next up we our partners at the army corps. of engineers. mr. ray alexander. >> thank you, administrator
long. good morning. the caarmy corps. of engineers ready to respond. we're working with our state and local partners. to date, we have over 200 personnel engaged with over 6 million and mission assignment dollars for fema. and in our pacific ocean division continues to assess and respond to the affects from the typhoon and the hurricane out in the pacific. while here in the atlantic, our authorities are postured to provide temporary power support and debris management, temporary roofing, housing, and conduct infrastructure assessments in the carolinas, virginia, and elsewhere where needed. as far as dams, there are five corps. of engineers dams in virginia and north carolina. all have sufficient flood control capability to accept the
affects of precipitation from florence. we're working with the army's installation management command to ensure that the fort jackson, south carolina any effects of florence on those dams are mitigated. in terms of navigation, we're closely working with our partners from noaa and the u.s. coast guard and prepared to rapidly open federal channels and other navigation. finally, in flood response, we're integrated with state and local county governments to provide technical assistance both the storm and after. thank you. >> thank you. >> next up our partner from the coast guard. >> thank you. the safety of the people -- top priority and we're working in close concert with fema and other federal state and local partners in preparing for the
storm. in preparation, the coast guard is taking the following actions. the ports of wilmington and moorhead city, north carolina as well as chesapeake bay have been closed. we have prestaged shallow water response motes as well as bringing in additional search and rescue aircraft in georgia and moved aircraft out of the air station of the city to come in behind the storm as soon as it's safe to fly the mission. the coast guard is prestaging other special forces with additional law enforcements, security, and oil and hazardous materials response, resources to be ready. and all coast guard swamp boats and federal crews will be outside of the storm and ready to move in as soon as it's safe to do so. please stay off the water. coast guard search and rescue resources will be degraded or unavailable before, during, and immediately after the storm. remember that social media is a great way to stay informed but
please don't use social media in order to call for help. please call 9-1-1 or channel 16 in order to reach out to get help. finally, once the storm is passed, the areas will be hazardous. please stay in a safe location while coast guard and other partners assess the damage and let you know when it's safe to do so. >> thank you. >> next up the office of disability integration coordination in fema. so, linda, could you say a few words? >> thank you. >> good morning. so as the disability coordinator and the director of coordination our responsibility is to ensure that fema's programs and services are available to and assessable to people with disabilities before, during, and after disasters.
and in terms of florence, in particular, we're working closely with our partners at the state and local level and the territorial and triable level with our federal partners and agencies like the red cross and hhs to ensure that people with disabilities have what they need during evacuation, during sheltering, preand post landfall. so part of our coordination efforts are to ensure that we are in close communication with our state and local partners to ensure that any unmet needs that people with disabilities have during evacuation or sheltering and in terms of response and recovery are met and we'll continue to closely coordinate with our state and local and federal partners to ensure that people with disabilities who are impacted by the storms have what they need to safely evacuate. that they have what they need in the shelters, and they can effectively respond to and recover from the effects of the disasters. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> finally, our next up
environmental protection agency. >> good morning. epa is the lead federal agency for inland releases of oil and hazardous substances through emergency support function 10 under the national response framework. in addition, the requests for assistance from our states, tribes, and local government partners some of the things that epa is currently doing prior to hurricane florence is to determine the staff's appropriation at chemical, oil, and production facilities that may be in the path of the storm and identify any releases or discharges of hazardous substances or oil caused by the storm. the agency identified sites in the facility response plan program for oil that may be in the concurrent projected path of the hurricane and trying to assess any prelandfall concerns.
in addition, we're working with the states, tribes, and local governments to identify drinking water and waste water, infrastructure, that may be in the current path of the storm. epa has issued four fuel waivers in north carolina, south carolina, georgia, and virginia. the purpose of the waivers is to help ensure that there's adequate fuel supply and gasoline in the affected areas until the normal supply to the region can be restored. currently, epa's emergency operation centers at headquarters here in washington, d.c., in epa region 3 of philadelphia, epa region 4 atlanta, georgia are all activated. we have teams on scene coordinators and equipment ready to deploy. we'll continue to coordinate with and support our federal, state, triable, and local government partners as needs arise. >> last up, our fema spanish language update.
>> questions with regard to florence? [ inaudible question ] >> do you have a cost estimate yet of what sort of damage this hurricane will do? >> no. we don't have that, but, you know, the storm is almost a combination of hurricane hugo and hurricane floyd. you know, it's, you know, it brings elements of both. hugo brought high winds and inland impacts and floyd brought tremendous amounts of inland rainfall that caused a lot of problems. so, you know, if you want to look at the disaster dollars connected to either one of those events, this one has the potential, by all means, to line
up with that. yes, ma'am? >> reporter: there are reports -- staffing wise and resource wise, the epa has been targeted by the the trump administration. how has this impacted your ability to do your job and keep people safe? are there positions that aren't filled that should be? >> the easy answer to that, ma'am, we're staffed at the levels we were during last year's response season in 2017. harvey, irma, and maria and the california wildfires confronted us. we're prepared to move. >> all right. >> yes, sir. >> tailor with spectrum news. you have talked about how well relationships with state and local officials are, especially in the carolinas. are there any noticeable vulnerabilities that you've noticed or voids in that relationship or in terms of services ahead of this that you say this is a problem that we're actively working to address before the storm makes landfall? >> no. you know, the communication --
the capabilities of north and south carolina and virginia are strong and they have strong and experienced local emergency management agencies as well. as i've been saying the successful emergency response and recovery you can equate it to the chair you're sitting in with four legs. the four legs represent different things. one leg is the federal government. that's us. and the response we put forward. the second leg is the state and local governments. the third leg is our ngo partners, nongovernmental organization partners that owns a lot of the infrastructure. the fourth leg is the sis citizen. any time you have all four present going into a disaster things are going to go fairly well. people will get frustrated because it's a disaster and stuff is broken. i feel confident that all four of those legs are going into this event, unlike other events we've seen in the past and when that occurs, look, we're going to have problems and have to
troubleshoot some gaps that pop up, but we have solid communications with all the governors and with the state directors and regional partners and everybody involved. we are truly prepositioned as best we can be based on what we know and that the forecast provides us. all right, folks, thank you. >> administrator [ inaudible ] beyond florence brought this up and i want to get you on the record since you brought it up, do you feel confident that all of the laws and statutes were followed for the government -- >> yeah. good question. i would never intentionally run a program incorrectly. bottom line, if we made mistakes on the way a program was run we'll work with the oig to get those corrected. doing something unethical is not part of my dna and it's not part of my track record and my whole entire career. we'll work with the oig. >> that's all we have time for today. as always, please with any
additional questions you can reach us at fema-news-desk @fema.dhs.gov. be safe and download the fema app. thank you. state department officials appeared before congress to talk about u.s./cuba relations and answered questions about the government's response to the attacks on embassy personnel in havana. this hearing by the house foreign affairs subcommittee on the western hemisphere is about