GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 31, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District will coordinate four Army Black Hawk helicopters to fly over Galveston Island and the Houston area Sept. 7, 2016, as part of an annual hurricane exercise to track the 2008 Hurricane Ike path and view critical infrastructure and areas that could be affected if a hurricane hit the Galveston/Houston area.
“When Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast in September 2008, the damage in Texas alone totaled approximately $29.5 billion,” said Brig. Gen. David C. Hill, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division. “This aerial tour with our state and local partners will help us learn from the past to prevent such devastation in the future. Our goal is to be ready and reliable members of a team that supports our local governments and communities.”
Federal, state and local agencies will participate in the USACE Southwestern Division’s Hurricane Tabletop Exercise, hosted at the USACE Galveston District. Officials will review lessons learned from Hurricane Ike and subsequent storms to help prepare responding agencies for the future.
“The USACE Galveston District is prepared and ready to respond to a hurricane as part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies,” said Col. Lars Zetterstrom, USACE Galveston District commander. “As part of this preparedness we will assess from an aerial perspective, areas including the Galveston Seawall, Port of Galveston, Bolivar Island, Texas City, Port of Houston, Buffalo Bayou as well as the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. Residents can expect to see military helicopters flying over these areas during the hours of 8-11 a.m.”
The aerial tour will provide a current view of the terrain to help officials build realistic training scenarios and plan for future hurricanes and storm events. “Every year, the Corps, as part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies, sends hundreds of people to respond to disasters around the world,” said Zetterstrom. “At home, we assist both the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency with public works and engineering-related emergency support.”
According to Zetterstrom, one of the district’s highest priorities is to survey navigable channels and ports in order to quickly return the nation’s ports to full commercial capacity. Additionally, FEMA assigns USACE missions to include debris management, temporary housing, temporary roofing, emergency power, infrastructure assessment and support to urban search and rescue.
Zetterstrom added that the district’s top priorities are to support immediate life-saving and life-safety emergency response priorities; sustain lives with temporary emergency power of critical infrastructure and other needs and to initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring critical infrastructure.
Hurricane season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30, with the peak threat period from mid-August through October.
Learn more about the USACE Galveston District’s emergency management missions at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Emergency-Management-Office/. For news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.