Transcript for FEMA chief speaks out as Florida preps for ‘life-threatening’ storm
We are joined by FEMA administrator Brock long. Brock, thanks for joining us again this morning. Just hours away from landfall. What’s your biggest fear right now? Right now my biggest fear I hope the people heeded the warning to evacuate because the window to do so is coming to a close very rapidly as this storm is encroaching on the coast. We’re already seeing rain bands and forecasters are predicting over 13 feet of storm surge near where the eye makes landfall and just to the east. That’s the worst place to be. So we just hope that people have gotten out of those storm surge Zones. It has popped up quickly. Any surprises you’re seeing? You know, this is typical with gulf coast storms. Rapidly intensifying and it’s something that we have to factor into. We have to ramp up, you know, our assistance and move very quickly and unfortunately we’ve seen this a lot in the gulf. You have seen it a lot in the gulf and one of the things we also see, in many so of these storms there are just some people who choose not to get out for complicated reason, elderly people with limited mobility. What can you do for them? Typically what happens is if you have any functional or access needs, the counties will typically hold registry lists that we would like for you to register for on blue sky days so that we have an understanding of who needs assistance ahead of time. But in this situation right now what we really depend on is neighbor helping neighbor. You know, please check on your neighbors and if you’re leaving and you know that someone is in their house alone and can’t evacuate, we would ask for that assistance. Now, what are we doing? We pre-position search and rescue teams to be able to move in as quickly as we can once the elms of the storm have passed through. Coming on the heels of Florence, quite a different storm that dumped so much rain across the Carolinas. How is Michael different and how does that change your response? The intensity. Sheer fact of the intensity and the timing, I mean, Florence gave us a huge runway. Over a week’s notice. This one — popped up quickly. It will move rapidly through Georgia and maintain hurricane strength as it passes through later today and early tomorrow. Going to be quite a cleanup. Major hurricanes are the ones that cause the greatest amount of loss of life as well as devastation. Largely the storm surge area is the one unforgiving hazard and what we mean by that is that anybody that doesn’t evacuate that experiences storm surge doesn’t typically live to tell about that story but as this thing pushes through, you’re going to see a lot of inland wind damage and power outages for multiple weeks. Brock long, thanks for your time this morning.
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