Mutual Aid Agreement
Hurricane Harvey & TXWARN Update
September 5, 2017

It appears that for the time being resource request are being managed with in-state assets. That said, the paperwork for an EMAC request has been prepared if the situation changes. Many water systems have indicated that they have mission ready packages (typed teams and assets) that could be deployed if requested, which is huge advancement in our sectors preparedness since Katrina. Please remind your WARN member to communicate with you about resource capabilities.

These Harvey response preparations may also become necessary given Hurricane Irma (see attached), which could stress utilities on the east coast (and potentially the Gulf).

NOAA reports the following:
• Hurricane IRMA (Cat 5) continues to approach the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and is located 270 miles E of Antigua. Moving W at 14 mph; maximum sustained winds 175 mph; additional strengthening forecast next 48 hours (NHC Advisory #25, as of 8:00 a.m. EDT)
• Hurricane Warnings in effect for Puerto Rico, USVI, St. Martin, Nevis, Barbuda, & Antigua
• Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 5 hurricane

Status Update from TXWARN
Hello All - It has been a long week that has evolved into 10-days or more. So much for a holiday weekend!

Harvey made landfall last Friday/Saturday week and since then, TXWARN has been fully activated. Many of you have offered support and we thought we would make an EMAC request (and the paperwork is done) but, for now, it appears we are doing OK with resources within the state. We look at the storm as two separate types of events.

First, Harvey was a classic hurricane landfall event with storm surge, high winds, power loss, and some flooding.
We initially responded to utilities with the effects of these common effects/outcomes, seeking generators, crews to effect repairs, and even chemical shortages.

As power has been slowly restored, and we have responded to any number of requests and calls for assistance over the extended period, we have been closely monitoring the effects of literally the most rainfall to ever occur in a storm, and the effects on one of the most populated areas in the U.S, in and around Houston. Harvey was first a classic hurricane event, and secondly, the most massive of flood events. The impacts are similar and at the same time, very different. While power loss was the most important issue in the areas of initial landfall, flooding in southeast Texas has been the biggest impact in that area.

Our efforts were and continue to be on those systems with power loss and devastating storm impacts at and close to first impact. These are being managed well and we have some amazing success stories that prove the value of the TXWARN system and our ability to have resources on the ground within hours.

However, as the Houston area and southeast Texas slowly wait for flood waters to recede, our process has been slowed. This doesn’t mean we have not been busy in this area.
We are helping to expedite crews and resources to several utilities, and as of this writing, cueing up response efforts in anticipation of flood waters receding. Many of the impacted water systems are coming back online, but by their vary nature of location, wastewater systems have been highly impacted.

The City of Houston has expressed confidence in their own ability to recover. For now, we expect most water systems to come back online with limited outside help. But, we are expecting a number or requests for assistance to help dewater wastewater operations and then help to repair and bring those systems back online. This will be a complex and long-term process.

This is still a very fluid event. We are working in close concert with our State EOC, the regulatory agency, and the Federal partners. All is moving as well as can be expected.
We cannot say if we will need out of state resources. But, so far so good. It will be a long slog. Looking at Hurricane Irma, we are glad we did not ask for resources from anyone in the Southeast!

I want to thank all of you for your support and offers for support. We have captured all of your communications just in case we need to hold you and your folks to the offers of assistance. This is not over and it won’t be for sometime.

Thanks for proving that when it really matters, we are all one, and prepared to assist if called upon!

Mike Howe, TXWARN


 
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