MIAMI — The Coast Guard reminds mariners and residents of Georgia and South Carolina to remain vigilant as Tropical Storm Idalia continues to the eastern seaboard, Wednesday.
Idalia was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it crossed the Florida Peninsula into Georgia.
The extent of damage to impacted areas is still being assessed by federal, state and local emergency responders. The Seventh Coast Guard District is staged and prepared to deploy rescue crews to assist those in distress as soon as safely possible.
According to the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service’s 5 p.m. reports, storm surge is expected along the southeastern U.S. coast within the Storm Surge Warning area through tonight. Coastal flooding is also expected within the Storm Surge Watch area in North Carolina on Thursday. Residents in these areas should follow any advice given by local officials.
Tropical storm-force winds will affect portions of the southeastern U.S. coast through Thursday. Areas of flash, urban, and moderate river flooding, with considerable impacts, are expected from east central Georgia, through eastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina into Thursday.
The Coast Guard offers the following safety tips to those affected or in forecast areas of impact:
All mariners are advised to stay off the water. Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat to “ride out” a tropical cyclone.
If you are in a vessel at sea and unable to evade a storm, ensure you wear a lifejacket and know how to activate your distress signaling devices. Rescue and assistance by the Coast Guard and other agencies may be degraded or unavailable immediately before, during, and immediately following a devastating storm.
Buoys, day boards, and other aids to navigation may be off station if shifted by the hurricane. Water depths may be shallower than charted due to shifting sands and shoals. If you encounter an off-station buoy or navigational marker, report it to the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16.
Do not operate unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) around working crews or in areas with low-flying aircraft (helicopters).
Stay off the water and out of the way of rescue crews unless you are playing a critical role in the response. This is not a time for disaster sightseeing. The Coast Guard and other responders are actively engaged in restoring our waterways and maritime infrastructure. You can help by steering clear.
Turn around, don’t drown. Do not intentionally drive your vehicle into flooded or washed-out areas. You may underestimate the depth and become stuck or damage your vehicle.
Beware of construction materials like wood, nails, glass, and concrete that may be encountered in areas where flood waters receded, on beaches and in canals. Report hazards to local emergency management, lifeguards or beach patrol.
Reporting a hazardous substance release or oil spill takes only a few minutes. If you encounter chemicals or oil pollutants in the waterways, contact the federal government's centralized reporting center, the National Response Center (NRC), at 1-800-424-8802.
If reporting directly to the NRC is not possible, reports also can be made to the EPA Regional office or the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in the area where the incident occurred. In general, EPA should be contacted if the incident involves a release to inland areas or inland waters. The Coast Guard should be contacted for releases to coastal waters, ports and harbors. The EPA or the Coast Guard will relay release and spill reports to the NRC promptly.
Updated Port Condition changes by the Captain of the Port in advance of storm systems and hurricanes will be available on the Homeport website and announced on official unit social media pages throughout the Seventh District. Check below for your local Coast Guard Sector page:
To report distress or emergencies, please dial 911 or call the Coast Guard on VHF marine radio Channel 16. Social media is not tied to command centers or monitored 24/7 and should never be used to report life-threatening distress or law enforcement emergencies.
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