District preps for Dorian, stands ready to respond if commonwealth impacted

Norfolk District Public Affairs Office
Published Sept. 3, 2019
Updated: Sept. 3, 2019
Satellite image of Hurricane Dorian just of the coast of Florida on Sept. 3, 2019. Image Courtesy National Hurricane Center, NOAA.

Satellite image of Hurricane Dorian just of the coast of Florida on Sept. 3, 2019. Image Courtesy National Hurricane Center, NOAA.

NORFOLK, Va. -- In conjunction with Gov. Ralph Northam’s state of emergency declaration for Virginia yesterday, the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) activated its Emergency Operations Center in Richmond to facilitate close coordination with state and federal agencies on pre- and post-storm activities.

District personnel across the commonwealth are prepping for the arrival of this potentially dangerous storm.

On area military project sites, resident engineers at installations throughout Virginia are working with construction contractors to develop a plan to secure work materials; cranes and lifting equipment; inspect stormwater erosion and sediment control structures/devices; and fill open excavations, in the event Dorian impacts our area.

District project managers are communicating with project sponsors to complete pre-storm inspection checklists for storm damage reduction projects such as the Virginia Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project, the Norfolk and Richmond floodwalls, Sandbridge beach, Tangier Island and Buckroe Beach in Hampton.

The Corps began releasing water from Lake Drummond on Sunday, bringing the level down seven inches below normal in preparation for any additional rainfall. Additionally, the district is positioning its vessels into safe harbor at the Great Bridge Locks reservation, with both Norfolk and Wilmington District vessels moored there until the storm passes.

Nationally, USACE is working in partnership with local, state and federal response to the hurricane. The Corps has more than 220 personnel deployed and engaged, who are coordinating with partners in the affected areas. USACE’s number one priority continues to be the life, health and safety of all affected by Hurricane Dorian.

In preparation for potential impacts, USACE has deployed and alerted Emergency Support Function #3 Team leaders and  assistant team leaders, infrastructure assessment subject matter experts, critical public facilities/housing subject matter experts, debris subject matter experts, temporary roofing subject matter experts, temporary power subject matter experts, temporary power planning and response teams, and 249th Engineer Battalion soldiers to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina  and Virginia.

USACE serves as the lead agency to respond with public works and engineering support to coordinate long-term infrastructure recovery, and conducts its emergency response activities under two basic authorities – Public Law 84-99 (Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies) and when mission assigned by FEMA under the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act.

Under Public Law 84-99 (Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies), USACE provides disaster preparedness services and advanced planning measures designed to reduce the amount of damage caused by an impending disaster.

Under the Stafford Act, the Corps supports the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency in carrying out the National Response Plan, which calls on 30 federal departments and agencies to provide coordinated disaster relief and recovery operations.