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Federal News

Hours at DRC in Howard County to Change

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 13:25

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The disaster recovery center in Howard County will be closed weekends starting Saturday, July 25, 2015.

The center remains open weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The toll-free Helpline, 1-800-621-3362, is still available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time).

The center provides help to those whose homes or businesses were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of May 7 to June 15, 2015.

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Categories: Federal News

State/FEMA Recovery Center Opens in Okmulgee County

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:25

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open in Okmulgee County to help people in Oklahoma who were affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes occurring May 5 through June 22.

The mobile DRC officially opens Friday, July 24, 2015 at 7 a.m. at:

Green Country Technological School
1100 North Loop 56
Okmulgee, OK 74447
Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
(This mobile DRC closes on Tuesday, July 28 at 7 p.m.)

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Center To Open in Montgomery County for Texas Flood Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 10:34

AUSTIN, Texas – A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open on Monday, July 27, at noon in Montgomery County for homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 4 to June 22.

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Center to Open in Jim Wells County for Texas Flood Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 10:21

AUSTIN, Texas – A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open on Monday, July 27, at noon in Jim Wells County for homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 4 to June 22.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA, Ad Council Launch New PSA Focused on People with Disabilities Preparing for Emergencies

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 10:14

Washington - Today, the Ad Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the launch of a new public service advertisement (PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. While the PSA targets all communities, We Prepare Every Day is the first in a series of videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies.

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Categories: Federal News

Mount McKinley Elevation Survey Results Coming Soon

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 09:30
Summary: A team of four climbers has recently returned from the highest point in North America with new survey data to determine a more precise summit height of Mount McKinley. It is anticipated the new elevation finding will be announced in late August Climbers return from the top of Mount McKinley to begin data analysis

Contact Information:

Mark Newell, USGS ( Phone: 573-308-3850 ); Sue Mitchell, UAF GI ( Phone: 907-474-5823 ); Vicki Childers, NOAA/NGS ( Phone: 301-713-3211 x161 );



A team of four climbers has recently returned from the highest point in North America with new survey data to determine a more precise summit height of Mount McKinley. It is anticipated the new elevation finding will be announced in late August.

The ability to establish a much more accurate height has grown with advances in surveying technologies since 1953 when the last official survey of Mount McKinley was recorded. The new elevation will eventually replace the formerly accepted elevation of 20,320 feet.

”Determining an updated elevation for the summit of Mount McKinley presents extraordinary challenges,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS.  “The USGS and its partners are using the best available modern GPS survey equipment and techniques to ensure the new elevation will be determined with a high level of accuracy and confidence.”

Unique circumstances and variables such as the depth of the snow pack and establishing the appropriate surface that coincides with mean sea level must be taken into account before the new Mount McKinley elevation can be determined.

In 2013, an elevation was calculated for Mount McKinley using a technology known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (ifsar). The 2013 elevation was slightly lower than the summit’s 20,320 foot height. Ifsar is an extremely effective tool for collecting map data in challenging areas such as Alaska, but it does not provide precise spot or point elevations. This new survey used GPS instruments that were placed directly on the summit to measure a specific point on the surface, thus giving a more defined spot elevation. 

The USGS, along with NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS), and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), are the primary partners supporting the survey of McKinley’s summit. The survey party included three GPS experts and mountaineers from CompassData (a subcontractor for Dewberry), and a scientist/climber from UAF’s Geophysical Institute.

Now that the data collection expedition is completed, the NGS, UAF, USGS and CompassData are in the process of analyzing the data.

"CompassData was honored to help the USGS and NOAA on this nationally important project,” said Blaine Horner, a member of the climbing team. “Our experience surveying around the world put us in a unique position to perform this work."

The team began their ascent, with the needed scientific instruments in tow, on June 16. With diligent work and mostly favorable weather, the team safely returned to their starting point ahead of schedule.

"We had nearly perfect weather on the mountain,” said Tom Heinrichs, Director of the UAF Geographic Information Network of Alaska and part of the climbing team. “The logistics on the mountain all went well. The summit survey was successful and our preliminary look at the data indicates we will get a good solution for the summit elevation."

Mount McKinley is part of Denali National Park. The Park hosts more than 530,000 visitors each year, with about 1,200 who attempt to climb Mount McKinley. In a typical year, about half of those who begin a McKinley climb reach the summit. The six million acre park will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017. The mountain was first summited in 1913.

Agustin (Udi) Karriere (front) and Rhett Foster from CompassData establishing the 11,000 foot camp, preparing to move to the next camp and summit ascent. (Photo: Tom Heinrichs, UAF) (Larger image) Rhett Foster from CompassData on a ridge leading to the 17,000 foot base camp. (Photo: Tom Heinrichs, UAF) (Larger image) Tom Heinrichs from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Agustin (Udi) Karriere from CompassData traveling low on the mountain towards the next base camp, towing needed science and camp equipment. (Photo: Rhett Foster, CompassData) (Larger image) On top of North America! Blaine Horner from CompassData poses with GPS equipment on the top of Mount McKinley. (Photo: Agustin Karriere, CompassData) (Larger image)

FEMA Extends Incident Period in Oklahoma to June 22

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 09:05

OKLAHOMA CITY – Additional Oklahoma residents and business owners affected by severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that occurred from June 5-22 may now be eligible for state and federal assistance under the disaster declaration already approved for the state.

At the request of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has expanded the official disaster declaration to May 5 through June 22.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Experts Offer Ideas to Lessen Impact of Disaster Damage

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 08:24

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK –Teams of specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will offer tips and techniques to lessen the impact of future disaster-related property damage at building supply stores in four Arkansas locations beginning Monday, July 27, 2015.

The teams will be at these Lowe’s stores:

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of New Jersey Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 20:57

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of New Jersey.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for New Jersey

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 20:53

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of New Jersey to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe storm on June 23, 2015. 

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Categories: Federal News

Texas Disaster Declaration Incident Period Extended and Red River County Added for Individual Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 14:34

AUSTIN, Texas – More Texans may be eligible for disaster assistance with news of an extension of the original incident period and the addition of another Texas county for Individual Assistance under a May 29 major disaster declaration for severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding.

The new incident period is May 4- June 22. The new add-on county is Red River.

INCIDENT PERIOD EXTENSION

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Categories: Federal News

Climate Change Reduces Coral Reefs' Ability to Protect Coasts

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 13:00
Summary: Coral reefs, under pressure from climate change and direct human activity, may have a reduced ability to protect tropical islands against wave attack, erosion and salinization of drinking water resources, which help to sustain life on those islands

Contact Information:

Mariska  van Gelderen, Deltares ( Phone: +31 (0)6 13 67 13 70 ); Leslie Gordon, USGS ( Phone: 650-329-4006 ); Nanci  Bompey, AGU ( Phone: 202-777-7524 );



Aerial photograph of Kwajalein Atoll showing its low-lying islands and coral reefs. (High resolution image) Aerial photograph of Kwajalein Atoll showing its low-lying islands and coral reefs. (High resolution image)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Coral reefs, under pressure from climate change and direct human activity, may have a reduced ability to protect tropical islands against wave attack, erosion and salinization of drinking water resources, which help to sustain life on those islands. A new paper by researchers from the Dutch independent institute for applied research Deltares and the U.S. Geological Survey gives guidance to coastal managers to assess how climate change will affect a coral reef’s ability to mitigate coastal hazards.  

About 30 million people are dependent on the protection by coral reefs as they live on low-lying coral islands and atolls. At present, some of these islands experience flooding due to wave events a few times per decade. It is expected that this rate of flooding will increase due to sea level rise and coral reef decay, as the remaining dead corals are generally smoother in structure, and do less to dissipate wave energy. Loss of coral cover not only causes increased shoreline erosion but also affects the sparse drinking water resources on these islands, which may eventually make these islands uninhabitable.  In order to prevent or mitigate these impacts, coastal managers need know to what extent their reef system may lose its protective function so that they can take action. The new study gives guidance on a local reef’s sensitivity to change. The new research has been accepted for publication in “Geophysical Research Letters,” a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

To gain insight into effects of changing conditions on coral reefs, the study authors used Xbeach (an open-source wave model). The computer model was first validated using field measurements obtained on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and was then used to investigate what the effects on water levels, waves, and wave-driven runup would be if certain reef properties change. Reef roughness, steepness, width and the total water level on the reef platform are all important factors for coastal managers to consider when planning mitigating measures.

The results suggest that coasts fronted by relatively narrow reefs with steep faces and deeper, smoother reef flats are expected to experience the highest wave runup and thus potential for island flooding. Wave runup increases for higher water levels (that are expected with sea level rise), higher waves, and lower bed roughness (as coral degrades and becomes smoother), which are all expected effects of climate change. Rising sea levels and climate change will have a significant negative impact on the ability of coral reefs to mitigate the effects of coastal hazards in the future.

The research paper, “The influence of coral reefs and climate change on wave-driven flooding of tropical coastlines,” is published as an open-access paper and available online.

Quataert, E., C. Storlazzi, A. van Rooijen, O. Cheriton, and A. van Dongeren (2015), The influence of coral reefs and climate change on wave-driven flooding of tropical coastlines, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL064861

Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface. Visit http://www.deltares.nl and follow us on Twitter @deltares or LinkedIn.

FEMA Assistance Based on Individual Loss, Needs

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 10:45

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas residents who suffered damage in the severe spring storms should know that any disaster aid they may receive will be based on their unique circumstances and needs.

"We want everyone to receive the maximum assistance for which they are eligible," said Nancy M. Casper, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster operations in Arkansas. "The amount and type of assistance an individual receives could be completely different from what his neighbor receives, even though the damages appear to be similar."

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Center to Close in Travis County, Texas, But Help is Still Available

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 19:59

AUSTIN, Texas –The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), located at Rutherford Lane Campus – Building 1, 1520 Rutherford Lane, Austin, Texas, in Travis County will close at 6 p.m. Friday, July 24.

DRCs, operated by the State of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and supported by other agencies, remain open until the needs of area residents have been met. The centers serve as a one-stop shop for information and guidance about disaster assistance.

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Categories: Federal News

DISASTER RECOVERY CENTER HOURS TO CHANGE

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 19:18

CHEYENNE, WYO. – Starting this Saturday (July 25), Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) established by the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and FEMA will be operating under a new schedule.  The centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, closed Sunday and then open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

The two DRCs are located at:

Johnson County
Road and Bridge Building
325 Butte Street
Buffalo, WY 82834

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Categories: Federal News

Another Louisiana Parish is Eligible to Receive Federal Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 17:15

BATON ROUGE, La. – A July 21 amendment to the major disaster declaration for Louisiana following the severe storms and flooding occurring May 18 through June 20 now includes Public Assistance (PA) for an additional parish – Rapides Parish.

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Center to Close in Travis County, Texas, But Help is Still Available

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 16:33

AUSTIN, Texas –The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), located at Rutherford Lane Campus – Building 1, 1520 Rutherford Lane, Austin, Texas, in Travis County will close at 6 p.m. Friday, July 24.

DRCs, operated by the State of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and supported by other agencies, remain open until the needs of area residents have been met. The centers serve as a one-stop shop for information and guidance about disaster assistance.

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Categories: Federal News

State/FEMA Recovery Center in Pittsburg County to Close July 25

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 16:11

OKLAHOMA CITY –The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) set up to help people in McAlester affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes that occurred May 5 through June 4 will close on Saturday, July 25, at 7 p.m.

Located at:

Pittsburgh County Firefighters Association and Training Center
1505 Wade Watts Avenue
McAlester, OK 74501
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Provides Federal Funds to Help Fight Blue Creek Fire

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 16:00

SEATTLE - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Blue Creek Fire, burning in Walla Walla County, Wash.

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Categories: Federal News

Detailed Flood Information Key to More Reliable Coastal Storm Impact Estimates

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 15:30
Summary: CORAM, N.Y. -- A new study that looked in part at how damage estimates evolve following a storm puts the total amount of building damage caused by Hurricane Sandy for all evaluated counties in New York at $23 billion. Study Looks at NY Sandy Impacts and Losses by County

Contact Information:

Christopher  Schubert ( Phone: 631-736-0783 x109 ); Ronald  Busciolano ( Phone: 631-736-0783 x104 ); Vic  Hines ( Phone: 813-855-3125 );



CORAM, N.Y. -- A new study that looked in part at how damage estimates evolve following a storm puts the total amount of building damage caused by Hurricane Sandy for all evaluated counties in New York at $23 billion. Estimates of damage by county ranged from $380 million to $5.9 billion.

The U.S. Geological Survey study, done in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, marks the first time the agency has done this type of analysis and cost estimation for a coastal storm.

"We looked at how estimates of building damage change depending on the amount of information available at the time of the estimate, looking at three time periods -- storm landfall, two weeks later, and then three months later," said Chris Schubert, a USGS hydrologist and lead author of the study. "What we found was that the biggest jump in estimate reliability comes between the initial estimate and the two-week mark, but that the additional information available three months after an event greatly help refine the estimates even further."

The USGS researcher called the study a "proof of concept" that really showcased the value of gathering storm data before and after a storm.

"FEMA funded the sensor placement we did prior to the storm and our assessment of how high the water reached after the storm," Schubert said. "The results from this new study demonstrated how the additional resolution and accuracy of flood depictions resulting from these efforts greatly improved the damage estimates."

Damage estimates can be used by FEMA and other stakeholders to help prioritize relief and reconstruction efforts following a storm. The results can also assist with resiliency planning that helps communities prepare for future storms.

The researchers came up with the estimates by using census data and FEMA’s HAZUS modeling software program.  The HAZUS program is used to estimate potential loss from disasters such as earthquakes, wind, hurricanes and floods.  This program allows for an assessment of building loss on a block-by-block level.

Hurricane Sandy’s impact was the first time in recent memory, and record, that coastal water levels had reached the heights they attained in many places in the state of New York. Flood effects of Hurricane Sandy, in comparison to those from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, were significantly more extensive, with most water levels rising at least 2.5 feet higher than in the 2011 storm.

With the latest USGS analysis, a comprehensive picture of the magnitude of Sandy’s impact is now available. Without the sensor placement before the storm, and assessment of high-water marks after, this level of understanding wouldn’t be possible.

"This is the first time USGS has done this type of analysis and cost estimation for a coastal storm," said Schubert. "The effort incorporates what we learned from previous storms going back to Katrina, and the storm-tide information we provided to FEMA in the immediate aftermath of Sandy is one of the building blocks for this research. The additional fidelity of the damage estimate underscores the tremendous value of the dataset for this storm."

Interpretation of storm-tide data from a variety of tools such as tide gauges, stream gauges, and temporary sensors combined with high-water marks showed the extreme nature of storm-tide flooding and, at some sites, the severity and arrival time of the storm surge.  Storm surge is the height of water above the normal astronomical tide level due to a storm. Storm tide is the storm surge in addition to the regular tide.

"Timing matters, though every storm is different," said Schubert. "Throughout southeastern New York, we saw that timing of the surge arrival determined how high the storm tide reached. The worst flooding impacts occurred along the Atlantic Ocean-facing parts of New York City and western Long Island, where the peak storm surge arrived at high tide. So the resulting storm tide was five to six feet higher than it would have been had the peak surge arrived at low tide."

The new research is available online in, Analysis of Storm-Tide Impacts from Hurricane Sandy in New York, SIR 2015-5036, by C.E. Schubert, R. Busciolano, P.P. Hearn Jr., A.N. Rahav, R. Behrens, J. Finkelstein, J. Monti Jr., and A. E. Simonson. It examined damage estimates from those counties with depictions of flood extent available from FEMA and the National Hurricane Center.

The USGS is also conducting a study in New Jersey that examines similar topics, including the estimated flood frequency of documented peak storm-tide elevations, comparisons of Sandy to historic coastal storms, the timing of storm surge, and changes in HAZUS damage estimates with the use of USGS sensor and high-water-mark data.   That study is expected to be completed and released later this year.