State of Emergency Announcement for Hurricane Earl


Uploaded by MassGovernor on 02.09.2010

Transcript:
According to the latest forecast, Hurricane Earl is now expected to pass within fifteen
miles southeast of Nantucket. It will bring hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall to
the entire Cape and to the Islands, and tropical force winds and hurricane force gusts to Buzzards
Bay, Plymouth and the Southeastern Coast, perhaps as far north as Hull. We expect strong
rip currents and high seas throughout the weekend. We expect the full impact of the
storm to reach us by very late on Friday and last until pre-dawn on Saturday.
Based on the current forecast, I have declared a state of emergency here in the Commonwealth.
I have mobilized the National Guard as well, and I expect by the close of business today
to request a Federal disaster declaration, an emergency declaration of the President.
We have prepositioned water and other commodities, equipment and personnel on the Cape and the
Islands with the help of the Red Cross whose Massachusetts and national leadership I've
spoken with myself this afternoon, and many, many local emergency management officials.
Public shelters have been designated and will be supplied. NSTAR which provides electric
service for most of the affected area informs us that they have drawn extra crews and equipment
from across the operating region and from as far away as Michigan and Ohio, and will
preposition response teams to deal with any service interruptions that there may be. Debris
clearing crews have also been identified and will be on scene to respond as quickly as
possible.
We are doing everything possible to keep people safe. The level of communication and coordination
among the state agencies and between the state agencies, the Federal agencies, FEMA in particular,
local emergency response folks has been absolutely outstanding and exceptional. I thank everyone
for that level of good and hard and important work.
I urge the public to take the following steps as precautions: First of all, if you are not
in a low lying area prone to flooding, you should prepare to shelter in place. What that
means is to be indoors with the windows and doors closed, to have enough water for a day,
also non-perishable food supplies, a flash light and batteries and any necessary medications.
I'd ask folks also to check on elderly or disabled neighbors to make sure that they
are provided for.
If you are in low lying or flood prone areas, or in open areas, make plans to relocate by
tomorrow afternoon, and if you have no alternative, to shelter in a public shelter. That information
is available locally. If you are travelling to or from the Cape and the Islands this weekend,
be off the roads and indoors from tomorrow afternoon until Saturday morning, through
Saturday morning. If you plan to start your travel on Saturday, you'd be wise to check
with the media on travel conditions before you set out.
Commuters and schools should also plan their travel accordingly.
We're asking everyone don't panic. We have prepared well, we're coordinated well, and
I'm confident that we've done everything we can. Mother Nature is fickle, and changes
course, and her mind quickly, and so we will be prepared to get information out just as
soon and as quickly as new information becomes available.
Take this seriously and be prepared, but don't panic. I ask all of you from the media as
I have on other occasions like this to please help us get information out. We will be getting
it to you on a current basis as we get it. And we'd ask you to get it out as broadly
and as quickly as you can. And the public can also get additional information on the
website which is www.mass.gov/mema. M-E-M-A, for additional information.
Thank you everyone for your help. I'm going to turn this over now to Kurt Schwartz who
is the Acting Head of MEMA, and then we can take any questions or comments you might have.
Thank you Governor. The State of Emergency Operations Center here in Framingham and at
our regional offices is fully activated and engaged, as we have been for some 36 hours,
and we continue to stay fully active until the storm passes. Starting tomorrow morning
we will go on the 24/7 schedule and will remain here and engaged with all of our local, state,
and Federal partners for as long as is warranted. The Emergency Operations Center is staffed,
as I said, by dozens of state and Federal agencies. I want to point out the unprecedented
level of Federal cooperation and participation through FEMA and a whole range of Federal
agencies that are being coordinated by FEMA.
We have several goals. The first is to ensure the highest levels of readiness and preparedness,
not just at the state level but to ensure that at the local level they are also as prepared
as they can be. To that end, we have been talking directly to local public safety emergency
management officials twice daily on a conference call s and will continue that through tomorrow,
using that to impart current information to local public safety and also to respond to
any questions or needs they may have.
We are also, second, working to make sure that once the storm makes landfall and moves
out, that we are in a position to rapidly put teams on the ground across the Cape and
Islands in order to get a very quick assessment of the situation.
And third, that we are in a position to rapidly respond to the needs of the local communities
whether they be for continued sheltering , debris management, life safety, communications
support or whatever the needs may be. We will continue to work preparing right up until
the storm hits, tomorrow evening, and then we will immediately transition into a response
mode and be engaged for as long as necessary.