President Barack Obama has granted Governor John Lynch's request for a pre-landfall emergency disaster declaration as Hurricane Irene continues on a path toward New Hampshire. The declaration will make federal resources available during the storm, which will supplement significant state and local response efforts.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the storm to pass directly over New Hampshire on Sunday, bringing significant rainfall and high winds that will likely result in flash flooding, fallen trees and downed power lines.
"It is clear we are facing a significant weather event that will impact the entire State of New Hampshire. We are in a State of Emergency, and I urge all New Hampshire residents and visitors to take the necessary precautions and to follow the instructions of emergency officials," Governor Lynch said.
On Friday, Governor Lynch declared a state of emergency for all of New Hampshire, and requested the emergency declaration from the President in preparation for the storm.
The storm is expected to begin impacting the state Sunday morning. All State Parks - including all beaches on the Seacoast - State Forests and Trails will close effective at 6 p.m. this evening. The Parks will reopen Tuesday, Aug. 30, subject to any damage and debris removal needed in the aftermath of the storm. State and local officials are asking everyone to avoid Seacoast beaches throughout Sunday.
The New Hampshire State Police is asking all motorists to restrict travel throughout the day and into the evening on Sunday during the height of the storm.
Numerous regional and local shelters will open across the state tonight beginning at 6 p.m. Emergency officials advise anyone who feels their home may not sustain high winds or is located in a low-lying area subject to flooding to seek shelter. Anyone looking for more information regarding regional and local shelters should call 2-1-1.
In preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, Governor Lynch has been in close coordination with federal, state and local emergency management officials, and state agency leaders.
The National Guard is on state active duty and is ready to provide assistance as needed.
The Department of Transportation has canceled all weekend road construction work, removed barriers to open travel lanes and has been engaged in removing debris from storm drains and catch basins.
Over the last several days, the Department of Environmental Services has been managing water flow through state run dams and working with private dam owners to lower dam levels in an effort to limit flooding.
State emergency management officials recommended the following hurricane precautions be taken by all New Hampshire residents and visitors:
* The public should monitor weather information from the National Weather Service, radio and TV broadcasts and Internet sources for information regarding the severity of winds and rains produced by the storm.
* Loose objects in your yard, such as toys and lawn furniture, should be secured.
* As with all major natural events, ensure there is three days supply of water, non-perishable food and other supplies in your home.
* Prepare for power outages by ensuring working flashlights and fresh batteries, and a battery-powered radio. If you have a generator, ensure that it is professionally installed and can be operated without causing a health hazard. Please report outages to your electric utility.
* Prior to the storm's arrival, make sure all storm drains and culverts are clear of debris.
* Stay off the roads during the storm on Sunday.
* Follow the direction of your local emergency officials.