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GIC has activated to Level 3 – Enhanced Monitoring for Tropical Storm Flossie. Following a glancing blow from Tropical Storm Erick passing to the south of Hawaii producing some swells and enhanced rainfall, Tropical Storm Flossie is the next concern for the islands. Moving toward the west-northwest, Flossie is expected to follow this general heading with a slight decrease in forward speed expected through early next week. Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is anticipated over the weekend with the storm expected to track just north of the Hawaii islands as either a tropical storm or tropical depression on Monday. GIC will continue to monitor and at this point does not expect a requirement for imagery collection. If you have any questions, please reach out to graysky@geointel.org.
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GIC maintains Level 3 – Enhanced Monitoring for Tropical Depression Barry. The storm was briefly upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning but quickly weakened to a tropical storm when it made landfall near Intracoastal City, Louisiana and. Life-threatening flash flooding and significant river flooding are still expected along Barry’s path inland from Louisiana up through the lower Mississippi Valley. Tropical storm conditions are still occurring within portions of the Tropical Storm Warning area along the coast. GIC will continue to monitor for damage assessments, has been participating in coordination calls with FEMA, NOAA, and other federal and state stakeholders; and has made an initial plan for imagery collection depending on incoming damage assessments, input from GIC members, and weather availability. GIC members are encouraged to continue to send any requirements for imagery collection by contacting us at graysky@geointel.org
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GIC maintains Level 3 – Enhanced Monitoring for Tropical Storm Barry. The National Hurricane Center upgraded Potential Tropical Cyclone Two to Tropical Storm Barry today at the 11 AM Eastern update. Barry is expected to bring storm surge, rainfall, and wind hazards to the central Gulf Coast during next several days, including life-threatening storm surge inundation along the coast of southern and southeastern Louisiana where a Storm Surge Warning has been issued. The highest storm surge is expected between the Mouth of the Atchafalaya River and Shell Beach. A Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch are in effect for much of the Louisiana coast. The slow movement of the storm will result in a long duration of heavy rainfall threat along the central Gulf Coast and inland through the lower Mississippi Valley through the weekend and potentially into early next week. GIC will continue to monitor and is making plans for collection of imagery after the storm passes and conditions are safe to do so. If you have specifics requirements for imagery collection, please reach out to graysky@geointel.org.
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GIC is activated to Level 3 – Enhanced Monitoring for Potential Tropical Cyclone Two. The National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Wednesday 10-July at 10:00 AM Central for this storm. A tropical depression is expected to form later today or Thursday and could strengthen into a hurricane approaching the Gulf Coast by the weekend. Dangerous storm surge is possible in portions of southeast Louisiana, which is currently under a storm surge watch. Additional storm surge watches may be needed later today or tonight for further areas of Louisiana and the Upper Texas coast. GIC will continue to monitor. If conditions worsen and you have requirements for imagery collection, please reach out to graysky@geointel.org.
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Gray Sky, News, Uncategorized
In this 5-part blog series, we interview GIS and emergency management expert, Richard Butgereit, on the use of GIS technologies to improve catastrophe response.
Hurricane Michael – Image Rights Vexcel Imaging
Improving Natural Disaster Recovery Efforts through GIS
In part 2 of the 5-part blog series with Richard Butgereit, Director of Catastrophe Response, explained the role GIS plays in disaster preparedness and management.
This week, we hear from Richard on the ways in which GIS and the Geospatial Intelligence Center’s partnership with the private sector improves recovery efforts, allowing communities to rebuild faster.
Can you tell us why the post-disaster assessment process is critical to recovery efforts?
Richard: “Post-disaster damage assessment is what drives the recovery effort after a natural disaster. Affected areas need to be assessed to ascertain how many houses were destroyed or how many people no longer have a place to go to work or to live. Once the affected areas have been assessed, this information is then used to scope and begin the recovery process with the goal of making a community whole again.”
How has post-disaster data collection enhanced recovery efforts?
Richard: “If you look at the adoption of post-disaster imagery made available to emergency management organizations and stakeholders, it’s a constant evolution. Years ago we had disasters like Hurricane Katrina in which the response nor recovery efforts were well coordinated at the very beginning. We saw quickly that a lack of organization and resources could have a tremendous impact on outcomes after a disaster. Like with so many disasters, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, post-disaster imagery collection efforts were in direct conflict with critical search and rescue operations, delaying data collection. And unfortunately, the data collected didn’t show up to emergency operations centers until several weeks after the storm – and even then, the data collected was hard to assess due to the lack of an index and inability to understand which locations at which time were covered by the imagery. As a result, it wasn’t effectively leveraged to positively affect outcomes.
Fast forward to today, the lessons learned along with advancements in technology and the development of programs like the Geospatial Intelligence Center, and we now have unprecedented post-disaster data collection coordinated as a component of the response, capturing unprecedented quantities of quality, high-resolution data that can be turned around in quicker time frames than ever previously possible and contributing to recovery.
The end result is critical to the rebuilding of communities. In addition to serving our GIC member insurers, the GIC can share this same post-disaster data with emergency responders and government organizations like FEMA that can be used immediately to change outcomes for families, businesses, and communities that have been impacted – helping them get back on their feet faster.” What ways can geospatial analytics be used in combination with imagery to provide the most comprehensive response?
Richard: “I see two base feeds of information following disasters, one driven from the public sector and one driven from the private sector. Each can drive disaster response and recovery, but they work best, and most effectively for the communities impacted, when the data can be shared across these domains. On the public side, data feeds include FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, where phone calls and registration for aid are being initiated. This information is one indicator of the areas and levels of damage that a person’s home or business has endured. On the private side, insurers are a critical resource to people affected by these disasters. From their respective positions, how can this data be de-identified and aggregated to foster this cross-domain data sharing? I remember working in the Florida emergency operations center and observing as the US National Grid, a tactical tool originally created to improve search and rescue ground operations, naturally through geospatial analytics revealed itself as a strategic tool for data de-identification and aggregation.
Even as more sophisticated geospatial analytics like machine learning and artificial intelligence evolve around us, including using GIC post-disaster imagery, that same imagery is being used today to drive comprehensive response. When responders and emergency managers gather around our imagery, conversations and connections are spawned. And from those, we can logically dive into further data sharing discussions and work to assist communities affected by natural disasters. This type of partnership is a true game-changer in disaster response.”
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