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Federal News

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:48

CHICAGO –Summertime is meant for enjoying outdoor activities, but if you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to put you in danger. In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency want you to learn ways you can enjoy the warm temperatures and still protect yourself and your family when storm clouds roll in.  

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Categories: Federal News

NOAA, Partners Predict an Average 'Dead Zone' for Gulf of Mexico; Slightly Above-average Hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 14:05
Summary: Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay

Contact Information:

Ben Sherman ( Phone: 202-253-5256 ); Michael Woodside ( Phone: 615-837-4706 ); Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 );



NOTE:  Link to the Maryland Department of Natural Resourses was changed in the 10th paragraph. (6/25/14)

Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay.  

NOAA-supported modeling is forecasting this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.

While close to averages since the late 1990s, these hypoxic zones are many times larger than what research has shown them to be prior to the significant human influences that greatly expanded their sizes and effects.  

The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey,  and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.  

A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecast predicts a mid-summer low-oxygen hypoxic zone of 1.97 cubic miles, an early-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone of 0.51 cubic miles, with the late-summer oxygen-free anoxic area predicted to be 0.32 cubic miles. Because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary the focus is on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf.

The Chesapeake Bay prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan, and again relies on nutrient loading estimates from USGS.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries and threatens the region's economy. The Chesapeake Bay dead zones, which have been highly variable in recent years, threaten a multi-year effort to restore the water and habitat quality to enhance its production of crabs, oysters, and other important fisheries.

Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, primarily from human activities such as agriculture and wastewater, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life and habitats in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also affect the size of dead zones.

"We are making progress at reducing the pollution in our nation's waters that leads to 'dead zones,' but there is more work to be done," said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "These ecological forecasts are good examples of the critical environmental intelligence products and tools that NOAA provides to interagency management bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.  With this information, we can work collectively on ways to reduce pollution and protect our marine environments for future generations."

Later this year, researchers will measure oxygen levels in both bodies of water. The confirmed size of the 2014 Gulf hypoxic zone will be released in late July or early August, following a mid-July monitoring survey led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. The final measurement in the Chesapeake will come in October following surveys by the Chesapeake Bay Program's partners from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

USGS nutrient-loading estimates for the Mississippi River and Chesapeake Bay are used in the hypoxia forecasts for the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake data are funded with a cooperative agreement between USGS and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. USGS also operates more than 65 real-time nitrate sensors in these two watersheds to track how nutrient conditions are changing over time.

For the Gulf of Mexico USGS estimates that 101,000 metric tons of nitrate flowed down the Mississippi River into the northern gulf in May 2014, which is less than the 182,000 metric tons in last May when stream flows were above average. In the Chesapeake Bay USGS estimates that 44,000 metric tons of nitrogen entered the bay from the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers between January and May of 2014, which is higher than the 36,600 metric tons delivered to the Bay during the same period in 2013.

"The USGS continues to conduct long-term nutrient monitoring and modeling" said William Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. "This effort is key to tracking how nutrient conditions are changing in response to floods and droughts and nutrient management actions."

The research programs supporting this work are authorized under the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, known as HABHRCA, which was recently amended and reauthorized earlier this month through 2018.

Florida Survivors Have Two Weeks Left to Apply for Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 14:26

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Just two weeks remain for storm and flood survivors in Florida to apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The deadline to register is Monday, July 7.

Survivors in Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties are eligible to apply for disaster assistance that may include money to help pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs or other serious disaster-related expenses.

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Categories: Federal News

With Help from FEMA and Community, Sandy Survivor Returns Home

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 11:55

LINCROFT, N.J. -- Frederick Ziegler promises his rebuilt house in Point Pleasant Beach will be just as spotless as he left his FEMA mobile home at Green Acres Manor in Howell Township.

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Categories: Federal News

More Than $17.3 Million Approved for Mississippi Disaster Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 11:54

JACKSON, Miss. Federal assistance approved for disaster survivors in 12 Mississippi counties has reached more than $17.3 million.

Here is a summary through Sunday, June 22, of all federal assistance to individuals and households in the 12 counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance. The severe storms, tornadoes and flooding occurred from April 28 through May 3, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Rebuilding Specialists to Provide Advice in Jackson

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 11:15

FEMA Rebuilding Specialists to Provide Advice in Jackson

JACKSON, Miss. – Residents in the Jackson area can learn how to build or rebuild to reduce the likelihood of damage the next time severe storms, tornadoes or floods hit. Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation specialists know how and they are sharing their knowledge.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $307,275 Grant to Village of Hamburg: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish six flood prone structures

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 15:50

CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $307,275 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the Village of Hamburg, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of six residential structures in the Mississippi River floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.

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FEMA Awards $914,519 Grant to McHenry County: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish 10 flood prone structures

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 15:48

CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $914,519 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to McHenry County, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of 10 residential structures in the Nippersink Creek floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.

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Categories: Federal News

One Year Later: Rebuilding Better and Stronger

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 13:23

ANCHORAGE, ALASKAOne year has passed since the thunder of ballistic ice loomed over several Interior Alaskan communities that witnessed record-level floods in May 2013. Today, the sound of hammers, saws and power tools heralds in the start of construction season as volunteers and residents work to complete recovery efforts initiated last summer in Alakanuk, Circle, Emmonak and Galena.

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MEMA, FEMA to Reimburse Local Governments for Debris Pick-up until July 26

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 11:18

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announce local governments in counties designated for federal disaster assistance have until July 26 to pick up eligible disaster-related debris, including stumps and root balls, from public rights-of-way.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Continues to Monitor Midwest Severe Weather: Residents should remain vigilant as weather continues to move through the area

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 09:49

CHICAGO–As heavy rains, storms and flooding continue to impact several states throughout the Midwest, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region V office continues to monitor the situation and urges all residents to remain vigilant especially for potential power outages, rising flood waters and dangerous road conditions as a result of the severe weather.   

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA, SBA Deadline Less Than Two Weeks Away

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 18:07

Jackson, Miss. – The deadline for Mississippi storm survivors to register for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration is June 30.  

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FEMA Mitigation Specialists Available at Home Depot and Lowe’s

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:17

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Are you repairing or rebuilding damaged property? Have questions about flood insurance? Want to protect your property from potential loss or damage from future disasters?

Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation specialists will be available at three home improvement stores in the area to provide information on rebuilding safer and smarter. 

Specialists will be available at the following Home Depot stores through noon on June 26.

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Categories: Federal News

Pensacola Recovery Center Transitions to SBA Loan Outreach Center on Monday

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:14

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The State/FEMA disaster recovery center located at the Brownsville Community Center is transitioning on Monday, June 23, to a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan outreach center. Survivors will still be able to obtain disaster-related information after the center transitions.  

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Categories: Federal News

Contact FEMA If Insurance for Tornado-Related Living Expenses Expires

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 17:25

JACKSON, Miss. – Disaster survivors whose additional living expenses (sometimes termed “loss of use”) from their insurance company are running out and who still have a temporary housing need should contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency helpline (800-621-3362) immediately if they have not registered for disaster assistance.

Those who have registered should fax or mail a letter to the address below, explain the situation, document the use and expiration of living expenses from insurance and update their permanent housing plan.

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Misconceptions May Hinder Survivor Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 09:44

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Some survivors of the recent Alabama storms may not have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance because of misconceptions or lack of accurate information. Here are some examples:

I didn't know there was assistance available.
FEMA tries to let everyone know about disaster assistance, but some people miss the message. Please be sure to spread the word among your co-workers, neighbors and friends.

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Categories: Federal News

Alabamians Can Go To Home Depot, Lowes For FEMA Advice On Rebuilding Stronger

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 09:41

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As recovery continues from the April 28 to May 5 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that hit Alabama, federal officials are offering help on how to rebuild “stronger and safer” for the next disaster.

Specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be at Home Depot and Lowe’s home improvement stores around Alabama to offer residents information about rebuilding their flood- and wind-damaged homes to make them better able to withstand future disasters.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Rebuilding Experts to Provide Advice in Laurel

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:22

JACKSON, Miss. – Residents in the Laurel area can learn how to build or rebuild to reduce the likelihood of damage the next time severe storms, tornadoes or floods hit. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mitigation specialists know how and they are sharing their knowledge.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be at Lowe’s in Laurel for five days this week to discuss specific methods with anyone who stops by. They will have free booklets and pamphlets with additional details.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Nebraska Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:25

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Nebraska.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

Recovery Centers Have Closed but FEMA Still Here to Help Alabama

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:22

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Closure of the FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Centers in Alabama does not mean FEMA has left Alabama.

All the assistance services available at the Recovery Centers are easily accessible online and by phone.   There also is a FEMA representative at the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers, many of which are in the same location of the Recovery Centers.

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Categories: Federal News