MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- More than $14 million has been approved through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $5 million through its low-interest disaster loan program.
The following numbers, compiled May 29, provide a snapshot of the Alabama/FEMA disaster recovery to date:
Funds approvedLanguage English
Students have been helping with the SR 530 Slide recovery. One example is in Mill Creek, Wash., where a broadcast team of seven students from Henry M. Jackson High School produced one of the first newscasts that told the story of the SR 530 Slide.Language English
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabamians who have legal issues that are a direct result of the April 28 through May 5 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding may receive free help from the Volunteer Lawyers Program of the Alabama State Bar Association.
Residents must reside in the designated counties of Baldwin, Blount, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Lee, Limestone, Mobile and Tuscaloosa.Language English
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Survivors of the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and floods may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to people who have become unemployed because of the storms.
Residents of Faulkner County have until June 2 to apply for DUA.
The DUA deadline for residents of Pulaski, Randolph and White counties is June 5.Language English
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the members of the 2014-2015 FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council.Language English
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A letter denying assistance to storm survivors may not be the last word.
Every applicant for federal assistance has the right to file an appeal for another review of their case. In filing an appeal, documentation that proves the applicant’s reason for filing the appeal must be included.
A denial letter does not necessarily mean an applicant is not eligible for assistance,” said FederalLanguage English
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The center, operated by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is located at Oneonta Recreation Park – City Depot, Chamber of Commerce Room, 28161 State Highway 75, Oneonta, 35121
The center will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the final day.Language English
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Disaster Recovery Center in Tuscaloosa will close Saturday, May 31 at 6 p.m. An SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open in the same location on Monday, June 2, at 9 a.m.
The Recovery Center is located at the Salvation Army Building, 1601 University Blvd. East, Tuscaloosa, 35404. The FEMA center will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the final day.Language English
Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions —ultraviolet, or UV, light.
If long-wave UV light is directed at the wings of bats with white-nose syndrome, it produces a distinctive orange-yellow fluorescence. This orange-yellow glow corresponds directly with microscopic skin lesions that are the current “gold standard” for diagnosing white-nose syndrome in bats.
“When we first saw this fluorescence of a bat wing in a cave, we knew we were on to something,” said Greg Turner from Pennsylvania Game Commission, who has been using this technique since 2010. “It was difficult to have to euthanize bats to diagnose WNS when the disease itself was killing so many. This was a way to get a good indication of which bats were infected and take a small biopsy for testing rather than sacrifice the whole bat.”
Millions of bats in the United States have died from the fungal disease called White nose syndrome which is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans (Pd). White-nose syndrome was first seen in New York during the winter of 2006. Since then, the disease has spread to 25 US states and 5 Canadian provinces.
A significant problem in studying WNS has been the unreliability of visual onsite inspection when checking for WNS in bats during hibernation; the only way to confirm presence of disease was to euthanize the bats and send them back to a laboratory for testing.
“Ultraviolet light was first used in 1925 to look for ringworm fungal infections in humans,” said Carol Meteyer, USGS scientist and one of the lead authors on the paper. “The fact that this technique could be transferred to bats and have such remarkable precision for indicating lesions positive for Pd invasion is very exciting.”
To test the UV light’s effectiveness, bats with and without white-nose syndrome in North America were tested by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, first using UV light, then using traditional histological techniques to verify the UV light’s accuracy.
In the USGS lab testing, 98.8 percent of bats with the orange-yellow fluorescence tested positive for white-nose syndrome, whereas 100 percent of those that did not fluoresce tested negative for the disease. Targeted biopsies showed that pinpoint areas of fluorescence coincided with the microscopic wing lesions that are characteristic for WNS.
Researchers in the Czech Republic then tested the UV light-assisted biopsy technique in the field, using it to collect small samples from areas of bat wing that fluoresced under UV light. In this study, 95.5 percent of wing biopsies that targeted areas of fluorescence were microscopically positive for WNS lesions, while again 100 percent of bats that did not fluoresce were negative for WNS.
Combining research from two continents demonstrates that UV diagnostics might be applicable worldwide with great sensitivity and specificity in detecting WNS.
“Moreover, the technique hurts the animal minimally and bats fly away after providing data for research,” said Natalia Martinkova from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. “This makes UV fluorescence an ideal tool for studying endangered species.”
This effort included partners in the USFWS, state and federal biologists, the Czech Science Foundation, and the National Speleological Society of the USA.
This research article, “Nonlethal Screening of Bat-wing Skin with the Use of Ultraviolet Fluorescence to Detect Lesions Indicative of White-Nose Syndrome,” was recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases. More information may be found on USGS research on white-nose syndrome here.
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have approved more than $10.8 million in total assistance for survivors of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred in Mississippi from April 28 to May 3. The following is a breakdown of that assistance.
SBA disaster loans for homeowners and rentersLanguage English
JACKSON, Miss. – It was April 28 when tornadoes swept from west to east across Mississippi, the beginning of five days of severe storms that also brought rain and flooding. The National Weather Service confirmed 23 tornadoes in the state and 14 deaths. More than 1,200 homes and 90 businesses were destroyed or sustained major damage. Approximately 2,000 homes and 200 businesses were damaged in some way. Two days into the event, Governor Phil Bryant’s request for a federal disaster declaration was granted by President Obama.Language English
FEMA Awards $238,219 Grant to City of Savanna: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish eight flood prone structures
CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $238,219 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Savanna, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of eight residential structures in the Plum River floodplain.Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.Language English
LINCROFT, N.J. -- Millions of people enjoy living near the water, but few people actually want to live in it.
When a property or a neighborhood experiences repeated flooding, costs for the property owner, the community and the state can escalate rapidly.
Flooding may impact the stability of a home or an entire neighborhood, damage or destroy personal property, impact property values and lead to injuries or loss of life. Emergency responders may risk their own lives to help residents escape rising waters.Language English
JACKSON, Miss. – One day remains to visit the disaster recovery center in Waynesboro, which closes at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 28.
Also closing this week, at 6 p.m. Friday, are the disaster recovery centers in Laurel and on Stadium Road in Columbus.
Three remaining disaster recovery centers will be closed weekends beginning this week. They are on Lawrence Drive in Columbus, in Louisville and in Tupelo.Language English
Little Rock, Ark. – As residents rebuild their lives and their homes, representatives of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are encouraging all people in Faulkner, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties who suffered damages as a result of the tornadoes and severe storms to file with their insurance companies and to register with FEMA.Language English
JACKSON, Miss. – Some Mississippi tornado survivors who registered for federal disaster assistance may receive letters or other correspondence from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that say they’re ineligible for help.
However, in many cases, they may be able to turn what appears to be a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ by following through and providing additional information.Language English
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Specialists from the State Emergency Response Team and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be available over the long holiday weekend to provide disaster survivors in Jackson County with on-site registration assistance.
The temporary registration intake center is now open in Marianna to help survivors affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from April 28 through May 6. The center offers a quick and convenient way for people to register with FEMA.Language English
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Rebuilding or repairing property damaged from the recent severe storms? Get advice on building safer, stronger and smarter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Mitigation experts from FEMA will be on hand at home improvement stores in Conway, Searcy and Little Rock to offer information on rebuilding after a disaster. The advisors can answer questions about protecting homes from future disaster-related damage and offer tips to build hazard-resistant homes.Language English
WOODS HOLE, Mass. —Flooding in coastal areas bordering Great South Bay, N.Y. and Barnegat Bay, N.J. caused by winter storms that occurred following Hurricane Sandy was not influenced by changes Sandy made to barrier islands or other bay features, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.
The study of Barnegat Bay and Great South Bay looked at data from November 2012 to October 2013, when winter storms brought water levels in these bays to among the 20 highest storm water levels reached from October 2007- October 2013.
“The frequent and extreme high-water levels caused by storms in these two bays in the months after Hurricane Sandy led to perceptions the mainland was more vulnerable to flooding,” said USGS oceanographer and coauthor of the study Neil Ganju. “This study shows that changes to bay features caused by Hurricane Sandy did not influence these post Sandy storm water levels.”
Hurricane Sandy caused extreme floods along portions of the northeast coast of the U.S. and cut new inlets across barrier islands in New Jersey and New York. Scientists investigated whether Hurricane Sandy had in some way reduced the protection provided by the barrier islands and the bays, leaving the mainland more vulnerable to flooding.
The study compared water level measurements made at stations within Great South Bay and Barnegat Bay to ocean water levels before and after Hurricane Sandy. Both are back barrier bays -- bodies of water behind barrier islands and connected to the ocean through one or more inlets.
“Changes in water levels in the back-barrier bays are primarily caused by ocean water levels driving water into or out of the bays through inlets,” said USGS oceanographer and lead author of the study Alfredo Aretxabaleta. “The study showed that most of the ocean water level fluctuations caused by storms make their way into the bays, while only a fraction of tidal fluctuations do.”
The results showed that alterations to the barrier, inlet, and bay systems caused by Hurricane Sandy did not influence the high water levels caused by storms from November 2012 to October 2013. None of these post-Sandy storms opened new inlets or caused overtopping of the protective dunes and barrier beach systems. Both before and after Sandy, about 80 percent of storm surge—a temporary rise in water level caused by an offshore storm’s winds or low pressure—made its way into the back barrier bays, whereas only about 20 percent of the tidal fluctuations do. This suggests that whether the same storm occurred before or after Hurricane Sandy, the water level in the bays would be the same.
“While the existing barrier island and inlet system shields the mainland to a great extent from the daily tides, most of the storm surge, and all long-term changes in water level, such as those resulting from sea level rise, reach the mainland” said USGS oceanographer and coauthor Bradford Butman. “These results will inform coastal communities and planners how water levels in back-barrier bays respond to ocean fluctuations.”
Several studies related to Hurricane Sandy recovery, restoration and rebuilding efforts, many of which are funded by Disaster Relief Appropriations Act 2013, are currently underway.
“The USGS is committed to providing the science foundation for federal, state, and local authorities to build more resilient communities,” said John Haines, coordinator of the USGS’ Coastal and Marine Geology Program. “This is one of many studies the USGS is doing to understand the effects of Hurricane Sandy and to evaluate the vulnerability of the coast and its communities to future storms.”
The study, “Water-level response in back-barrier bays unchanged following Hurricane Sandy,” by Aretxabaleta, A.L., Butman, B., and Ganju, N.K., is in the Geophysical Research Letters journal and available online.
Knowing flood risks allows for more informed decisions
DENTON, Texas –Homeowners, renters, and business owners in Otero County, New Mexico are encouraged to look over newly released preliminary flood maps in order to determine their flood risks and make informed decisions.Language English