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Posts tagged: disaster

Secretary’s Column: Helping Communities Impacted by Disaster

This year, many Americans have been impacted by a wide range of natural disasters. Many have seen their homes perish or their livelihoods turned upside down – sometimes overnight. Tragically, some have lost their lives.

Many Americans don’t know it, but USDA often plays a key role in disaster assistance and recovery. We take this responsibility seriously.  Today, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we’re working to help.

More than 250 U.S. Forest Service personnel have been sent to affected states, to assist in disaster response.  USDA staff members are helping rural electric and water utility companies assess outages and damage.  We are working with impacted States to assess the need for emergency food assistance.  And we are in constant contact with FEMA, additional Federal agencies, and State and local governments to ensure a coordinated response. Read more »

Early Warning and Detection System to Help New Mexico Communities

Buck Mountain precipitation gage with solar panel, radio stand, and electronics—Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire, N.M.

Buck Mountain precipitation gage with solar panel, radio stand, and electronics—Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire, N.M.

New Mexico experienced in June two catastrophic wildfires—the Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire and the Little Bear Fire. One consequence of those fires has been flash flooding. Water runs off more quickly during rainstorms in areas where fires have stripped the landscape. These floods can happen with very little notice, endangering communities downstream. Read more »

Livestock Producers Affected by Disasters Urged to Keep Good Records

The Farm Service Agency would like to remind livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac to keep thorough records of their livestock and feed losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchases because of lost supplies.

In addition to Isaac, there are a variety of disasters from fires in the west, floods in Florida, storms in the Mid-Atlantic and drought and heat affecting the heartland.  Each of these events is causing economic consequences for ranchers and producers including cattle, sheep and dairy operations, bee keepers and farm-raised fish, and poultry producers.

FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including: Read more »

USDA Offers Livestock and Pet Safety Tips for Those in the Path of Tropical Storm Isaac

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing guidance for residents in states who have livestock and pets that might be affected by Tropical Storm Isaac.  USDA is offering these tips to help residents protect the health of these animals in the event of power outages, flooding and other issues that can be associated with strong storms.

Follow the direction of state and local officials and stay tuned to your local Emergency Alert System television or ra­dio stations, and fire, police and other local emergency response organizations for relevant emergency information. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 8/27/12

Tropical Storm Isaac - August 27, 2012 as of 2pm EDT

Tropical Storm Isaac - August 27, 2012 as of 2pm EDT. Click to enlarge image.

Visit for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

In recent days, some of the weather focus has shifted from drought to the tropics. Indeed, Tropical Storm Isaac is bearing down on the central Gulf Coast of the United States, and hurricane warnings have been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Destin, Florida.  According to the National Hurricane Center, a coastal storm surge of 6 to 12 feet can be expected in southeastern Louisiana and southern portions of Alabama and Mississippi, along and just east of Isaac’s expected path.  On its present course, Isaac should reach the central Gulf Coast late Tuesday.  The NHC indicates that further strengthening can be expected prior to landfall, and Isaac should reach the coast as a Category 1 hurricane – with sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph.  Another threat related to Isaac will be flooding rains.  Rainfall has already topped 10 inches in parts of southeastern Florida, where locally heavy squalls persist.  In the central Gulf Coast region, widespread 6- to 12-inch totals are forecast, with isolated amounts near 18 inches possible.  Crops potentially in the path of Isaac include cotton and sugarcane.  By August 26, cotton bolls open in the Delta States ranged from 32% in Missouri to 61% in Louisiana.  Cotton in the open-boll stage of development is especially vulnerable to damage when high winds and heavy rain occur.  In Louisiana, more than one-quarter (28%) of the new sugarcane crop had been planted by August 19.  Many other crops, including unharvested corn, rice, and soybeans, could be susceptible to lodging (i.e. being flattened or blown over) or quality degradation due to Isaac’s effects. Read more »

USDA Offers Tips to Coastal Residents Preparing for Isaac and other Tropical Storms

As Gulf Coast residents  prepare for the possible landfall of  Tropical Storm Isaac, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) urges everyone to make food safety a part of their preparation efforts. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

Storing perishable food at proper temperatures is crucial to food safety but can become difficult if you lose electricity for your refrigerator and freezer. For those living in Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected path, USDA recommends stocking up on canned food, bottled water, batteries, and dry ice.

The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” is available at to print and keep for reference during a power outage. :  Florida residents can get timely food safety information on Twitter by following @FL_FSISAlert, Mississippi residents should follow @MS_FSISAlert, and Louisiana residents can follow @LA_FSISAlert. Read more »