November 16, 2017

Hurricanes Irma and Maria: Damage to Observing Infrastructure Impacts Safety

Thousands of U.S. citizens are still working to restore their homes and businesses after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria wreaked havoc in the U.S. and Caribbean. We’ve all just experienced the most active hurricane season in recent memory.

SECOORA’s observing infrastructure took a major hit –  55% of our observing assets are either damaged or destroyed. This critical infrastructure informs us as to whether our ocean ‘highways’ are safe for work and recreation.  Without data, our ability to forecast and respond to future disasters in our region will be significantly impact. We need your help.


Damages to SECOORA Observing System

Prior to being damaged, SECOORA coastal stations and buoys captured high wind gust along Hurricane Irma’s path.

Damaged: 9 out of 15 High Frequency Radars

Land-based high frequency radar (HFR) provides real-time information on the speed and direction of surface currents over a large coverage area. This data can be used for US Coast Guard search and rescue operations and by emergency managers to track oil or other hazardous materials and harmful algal blooms.

The storm caused damage to 60% of the SECOORA HFR system. Nine out of 15 HFRs are non-operational or operational but in need of repairs. Electronics, antennae and wiring are needed to bring these radars back into online.

Damaged: 9 out of 18 Buoys and Coastal Stations

Moorings provide detailed time series data on sea state and meteorological conditions. Data from buoys and coastal stations is need for forecasts and to validate and improve model predictions, including storm surge models, wave height models, and storm tracks.

Only 50% SECOORA buoys and coastal stations are operating at full capacity, which increases the potential for loss of life during emergencies.

 

Jump to a detailed table outlining the damage to the SECOORA Observing System.

We need to repair equipment to forecast and respond to hurricanes.

Quick repairs to the system are needed to ensure NOAA National Weather Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, states, local emergency managers and the public have the information they need to make wise decisions.

What you can do:

1. Contact your senators and representatives and ask them to support supplemental funding for the IOOS. If you need help with contact information, please email abbey@secoora.org.

2. Share both of the SECOORA and IOOS Association one-pagers. Page 2 of the SECOORA flyer shows which systems are damaged.

3. Remember that there were also very significant damages in the Caribbean (CariCOOS) and Texas (GCOOS).

Talking points:

1. Observations save lives and protect property by improving weather forecasts and warnings

2. We have detailed information on the damages in our region, if they need more information – click here

3. Without supplemental funding, the observing gaps in our region and the Caribbean, which are significant, will get even larger – increasing risks to people who live and work in our communities.

4. The supplemental funding request is for IOOS, which is a national program, and has three priorities. The first is to repair the damaged systems in SECOORA, CariCOOS and GCOOS regions. The second priority is to reduce the risk (harden) of future damage to the observing assets in these three hurricane prone regions. The third priority is to improve capacity across the national IOOS program to prepare and respond to extreme storms.

View the SECOORA Hurricane Damage One Pager

View the IOOS Association Hurricane Damage One Pager


Detailed information on SECOORA Damage

Prior to Hurricane Irma making landfall, SECOORA worked with each Principal Investigator to record the assets that were operational. Below is a table that reflects SECOORA’s damage estimates. SECOORA needs 1 million dollars to bring the system to 100% capacity.

 

SECOORA Damages: Irma and Maria

Lead Org Station Name Location (State) GPS Location Station Type Status Pre-Irma Status Post-Irma & Maria Total Cost to Repair/Replace
UNCW LEJ3 NC 34.2073° N
76.9488° W
Buoy Operational Fully Operational $-
UNCW LEJ3Wave NC 34.2073° N
76.9488° W
Waverider Buoy Buoy removed for service prior to storms N/A $-
UNCW ILM3 NC 33.9877° N
77.3617° W
Buoy Operational Fully Operational $-
UNCW ILM2 NC 34.1445° N
77.7183° W
Buoy Operational Fully Operational $-
UNCW ILM2Wave NC 34.1445° N
77.7183° W
Waverider Buoy Operational Fully Operational $-
UNCW SUN2 NC 33.8373° N
78.4768° W
Buoy Operational Partially Operational $2,825.37
UNCW SUN2 Wave NC 33.8373° N
78.4768° W
Buoy Operational Partially Operational $9,877.56
UNCW CAP2 SC 32.8033° N
79.6238° W
Buoy Operational Partially Operational $3,493.62
UNCW FRP2 SC 32.2745° N
80.4187° W
Buoy MET data reporting; CTD operational but internally logging Partially Operational; cables and potentially solar panels damaged  $2,602.61
UGA OA sensors on mooring 41008 GA 31°24’0″ N
80°52’5″ W
Buoy Operational Operational  $-
USF C10 FK 27°10′ 22.80″ N
82°55′ 26.40″ W
Buoy Operational Partially Operational  $41,449.96
USF C12 FL 27°30′ 18.00″ N
83°44′ 27.60″ W
Buoy Operational Partially Operational $44,937.60
USF C13 FL 26°0′ 36.00″ N
83°5′ 9.60″ W
Buoy Operational Partially Operational $51,449.97
USF Shell Point FL 30°3′ 28.80″ N
84°17′ 24.00″W
Shorebased Tower Operational, CTD removed from service Operational $-
USF Aripeka FL 28°25′ 58.80″ N
82°40′ 1.20″ W
Shorebased Tower Operational Operational $-
USF Fred Howard Park FL 28°9′ 10.80″ N
82°48′ 3.60″ W
Shorebased Tower Operational Operational $-
USF Clam Bayou FL 27°44′ 9.60″ N
82°41′ 9.60″ W
Shorebased Tower Operational Partially Operational $9,514.86
USF Big Carlos Pass FL 26°24′ 14.40″ N
81°52′ 51.60″W
Shorebased Tower Operational Partially Operational $14,048.17
UNC Chapel Hill HATY NC Cape Hatteras, NC HFR – CODAR Operational Partially operational $18,887.92
UNC Chapel Hill DUCK NC Duck, NC HFR – CODAR Operational Operational $-
UNC Chapel Hill CORE NC Core Banks, NC – CODAR Operational Operational $-
USC CSW NC Caswell Beach, NC HFR – WERA Operational Operational, needs repairs $3,606.61
USC GTN SC Georgetown, SC HFR – WERA Operational Operational, needs repairs $18,522.17
SkIO CAT GA St. Catherine’s GA HFR – WERA Operational Operational, needs repairs $6,692.86
SkIO JEK GA Jekyll Island, GA HFR – WERA Operational Non-operational $48,885.92
Univ. of Miami STF FL Dania Beach, FL HFR – WERA Operational Non-operational $172,760.91
Univ. of Miami VIR FL Virginia Key, FL HFR – WERA Operational Non-operational $252,760.92
Univ. of Miami CDN FL Crandon, FL HFR – WERA Operational Non-operational $252,760.91
USF RDSR FL Reddington Shores, FL HFR – CODAR Operational Operational, repairs needed $29,581.22
USF FDS FL Ft. DeSoto, FL HFR – WERA Operational Operational $-
USF VEN FL Venice, FL HFR – WERA Operational Operational $-
USF VENI FL Venice, FL HFR – CODAR Operational Operational, repairs needed  $25,597.04
USF NAPL FL Naples, FL HFR – CODAR Operational Operational $-
Total SECOORA Damage Estimate: $1,010,256.17