Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore prepares for heavy rain, winds
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District is preparing for potential flooding and emergency support to the Susquehanna River and Potomac River watersheds in anticipation of heavy rains and the effects of Hurricane Joaquin. With costal flood risk management projects in Ocean City, Maryland, along with 16 reservoirs and nearly 150 miles of levees throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia, Corps officials are taking the following measures to reduce the risk of flooding to communities throughout the region.
- A team of engineers deployed to Ocean City, Maryland, Oct. 1, 2015, to conduct a pre-storm assessment survey on the Atlantic Coast flood risk management project along the shoreline. The assessment team focused on areas that have higher known rates of erosion, including 146th, 81st , and 32nd streets. View photo from the survey:
Water control experts are monitoring gages, water levels, and reservoir conditions. Flood Risk Management engineers are coordinating with local sponsors and monitoring the district’s flood risk management projects.
For the Corps-regulated 16 multi-purpose reservoirs, the district will make decisions on gate operations at the dams using data from river gages and real-time reports from personnel on the ground. District dam operators are on site inspecting and monitoring the performance of the dams, and will take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities. If any dam operations need to modified, the public will receive advance warning through their local Emergency Management channels. The district also has 92 levee segments (148 total miles) within its levee safety program throughout Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Engineers inspect the levees bi-annually to provide information to the local sponsors who operate and maintain the levees to ensure they will perform as designed during a storm event.
We remain in contact with the National Park Service (NPS) who is responsible for installing the 17th Street post and panel closure structure that is part of the Potomac Park Levee System in the District of Columbia. This closure structure and levee system, built and regulated by the Army Corps and operated and maintained by NPS, reduces risk to human safety and critical infrastructure downtown to include the Federal Triangle from flooding of the Potomac River, including storm surge. In accordance with the Operations and Maintenance Manual, the National Park Service would make the decision to begin installing the closure structure when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the water stage to rise above a certain height along one of the gages. It can be installed in about four hours.
Emergency Operations and Assistance
The Baltimore District:
- Activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the City Crescent Building in Baltimore with 12-hour shifts, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Designated employees are working closely with state and federal agencies to provide appropriate emergency service. Support may include removing debris from public infrastructure and providing technical assistance for flood-fighting activities to help protect lives and property. Requests for assistance should be made to local Emergency Management agencies.
- Placed its Rapid Response Deployable Tactical Operation System Vehicles and crew on alert/standby. Vehicles in the fleet are designed to deploy within 18 hours and serve as command vehicles or offices-on-wheels for first responders, government officials and Emergency Planning and Response teams.
- Has been in coordination with its partners within the interagency Silver Jackets teams comprised of members from federal, state, and regional agencies, as well as academia. These flood-mitigation teams leverage resources to identify and implement comprehensive, resilient, and sustainable solutions to reduce flood risk and to assist local communities. The Baltimore District is a federal partner for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania teams. More info: http://silverjackets.nfrmp.us/
- Activated District Emergency Area Coordinators, placing them on alert status. They are keeping in touch with local governments and providing situational reports to the district’s EOC.
- Is home to the National Hurricane Program Office, which centrally manages all Corps technical support as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Hurricane Program. Within this program, the Corps and FEMA work with NOAA to conduct hurricane evacuation studies with the ultimate goal of helping locals understand their evacuation timeline. Hurrevac is a storm-tracking and decision-support computer software tool for government emergency managers that is maintained and operated by the district. The Hurrevac data is updated continuously and provides government officials with Joaquin's location and possible track. The information is used to aid decision makers in making key public safety decisions.