FEMA continues to urge preparedness ahead of Arthur Published July 3, 2014 WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National Watch Center in Washington and its regional offices in Atlanta and Philadelphia and in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is continuing to monitor the conditions of Tropical Storm Arthur off the east coast of Florida. FEMA remains in close contact with state emergency management partners in potentially affected states. FEMA urges residents and visitors in potentially affected areas to closely monitor the storm and take steps now to be prepared in advance of severe weather. Most importantly, everyone should follow the direction of their state, tribal and local officials. FEMA has deployed liaisons to the emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina along with an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to North Carolina to coordinate with local officials, should support be requested or needed. FEMA’s regional office in Atlanta is in contact with its emergency management partners in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. FEMA also plans to activate its National Response Coordination Center in Washington D.C. on Thursday. Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment have been placed on alert to provide emergency management partners with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services in support of emergency response communications. According to the National Weather Service, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the entire coast of North Carolina, and there is a Hurricane Watch from Bogue Inlet to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina and the Pamlico Sound. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for South Carolina, from the Little River Inlet to the South Santee River. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm force winds may begin within 36 hours. A Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch means that those conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 48 hours. Tropical Storm Arthur is forecast to intensify and become a hurricane by Friday. As the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur serves as a reminder for residents in areas prone to tropical storms and hurricanes to refresh their emergency kits and review family emergency plans. . At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States, that are available to state, tribal and local partners if needed and requested.