Major Hurricane Maria Report 2 October 2017 (1800z)

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This aggregated report summarizes activities and impacts as sourced by FEMA, DHS, NOAA and HHS.

*Any reproduction or reposting of this content requires proper credit/attribution to H-ISAC.

Meteorological Quick Look.

    • With sustained winds of 155 mph at landfall — a strong Category 4 storm and nearly a Category 5 — Maria was so powerful that it disabled radar, weather stations and cell towers across Puerto Rico. The entire critical infrastructure impacts to that island are devastating.


    • Though the winds themselves were of catastrophic nature, the threat and hazard of inland flooding created a great concern.


    • The U.S. Virgin Islands had rainfall totals excessing 35 inches.


    • Greater than 50 % of the island of Puerto Rico experienced more than 15 inches of rainfall total. This hazard was made worst by the mountainous terrain and risk of landslides and severe flash flooding.


    • A note that as of Monday morning 2nd October, the Puerto Rican National Weather Service forecasts additional rain and flash flooding to an otherwise already devastated topography.


Overview of Meteorological Impact (Puerto Rico)

    • Maria’s strong winds spread large amounts of debris across the entire area. All full trees were leafless, and those that were not snapped or uprooted by Maria’s strong winds, lost medium to large branches. During the interview process, stories and images were particularly similar.


    • Most structures across island are built using concrete as the main material, countless homes and buildings sustained some type of structural damage. Structures without a concrete roof suffered some type of roof damage or it was completely blown off.


    • Nearly all commercial signage, fences, and canopies were destroyed, including large digital high definition billboards. The last time that Puerto Rico experienced a category 4 or higher hurricane was back on 1928 with Hurricane San Felipe II.


    • Floods were considered catastrophic, overwhelming and overflowing rivers and tributaries, medium to large scale mudslides and the extensive damage to structures, as well as roads and bridges.


    • Streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey showed that 53 out of 65 river gauges met or exceeded flood stage.


    • Among these rivers, 30 exceeded major flood stage while 13 reached or exceeded all-time record level.


    • Widespread river flooding was observed across the island, particularly along the southeastern, northern and western portions of Puerto Rico.


    • The situation was aggravated by flood water accumulation in low lying and poor drainage areas. Several water pumps failed, and as a result, vast areas were flooded by rain, sewage and sea water. Some areas severely affected within the Metro Area include Ocean Park, Santurce, Condado, Cataño and Loiza.


FEMA Activities

    • Officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico opened points of distribution (POD) in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for survivors to get meals, water, and other commodities.


    • FEMA, working in coordination with federal partners, provided millions of meals and millions of liters of water to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional meals and water continue to arrive to the islands daily via both air and sea.


    • As of October 1, the Governor of Puerto Rico established 11 Regional Staging Areas around the island, serving all 78 municipalities.


    • FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) is facilitating private sector requests for humanitarian relief. The NBEOC continues coordination between government and private sector organizations as the community responds to Hurricane Maria.


    • Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) communications assets and personnel continue to support the FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT), Urban Search and Rescue (US&R), National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), and other federal teams in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are currently more than 30 MERS personnel in Puerto Rico and more than 20 MERS personnel in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


    • A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) mobile communications team is in Puerto Rico to help improve communications across the storm-impacted area.


Healthcare and Public Health Status

    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established seven temporary medical sites in Puerto Rico to aid local hospitals that are partially operational, and preparing to provide medical care.


    • The hospital sites are part of a three-tiered approach to supporting medical needs in Puerto Rico.


  1. – Providing medical staff working at a temporary medical site set up at Centro Medico to assist that emergency and trauma center;
  2. – Providing medical staff at temporary medical sites augmenting six hospitals in key locations across the territory
  3. – Maintaining contact with the remaining 61 hospitals to stay abreast of the supply and fuel needs.


    • Power is being restored to hospitals and all hospital assessments are complete. In Puerto Rico, 59 hospitals are operational to care for current patients or receiving patients with one hospital being fully operational. Power has been restored to nine hospitals. One Department of Veterans Affairs hospital is open and five are open for walk-ins.


    • FEMA reports the Royal Caribbean cruise ship departed September 29 for Ft. Lauderdale, transporting passengers from St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas; will arrive 03 Oct


    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports more than 500 of its personnel remain engaged in Puerto Rico and USVI to address residents’ medical and public health needs


Puerto Rico


    • On 01 Oct, HHS reported 14 hospitals are on grid power (20 percent back on electric grid)


    • On 01 Oct, FEMA reported one hospital is fully operational, 62 hospitals remain degraded, and two are closed. There are four hospitals with unknown status. There are ten hospitals back on the electrical grid with intermittent generator support



    • FEMA reported the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas and the Governor Juan Luis facility on St. Croix have been condemned


Communications Status

    • 75 of 78 municipalities (counties) have less than 20 % cell phone towers operational.


    • Broadcast radio has been largely restored with television restoration ongoing.


    • On 01 Oct, ESF-2 reports 280 satellite phones arrived in PR on 30 Sep and are being tested and distributed throughout the island.


    • MERS personnel continue to assess land mobile radio coverage to ensure all hospitals fall within coverage ranges; working to develop tracking by primary, alternate, contingency and emergency communications capabilities


    • Primary and alternate cover wireline and cellular capabilities provided by industry and commercial while contingency is being handled by high frequency armature radio relay lead (HF/ARRL) collaboration and emergency is the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) network.


    • SMS text messaging available to Iridium Satellite Phones


Dams Infrastructure Status

    • On 01 Oct, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed 14 of 17 priority dam inspections


    • The Guajataca Dam spillway continues to erode and rainfall related inflows are increasing the elevation of the reservoir pool. Immediate risk reduction measures are ongoing to stabilize the dam spillway and clear outlet blockage


Puerto Rico

    • As of 1030 EDT on 01 Oct, the Department of Energy (DOE) reported at least five percent of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) customers have had power restored. The airport, marine terminal, and several hospitals are also back on grid power


    • DLA is working with USACE, FEMA, and DOD to identify material and distribution requirements to support PR electrical grid rebuild efforts



    • On 01 Oct, FEMA reported the Northeast Public Power Association is transporting 40 crewmen and 29 trucks to support power restoration on St. Thomas and St. John; the date of arrival is yet to be determined


    • On Saturday afternoon, 30 Sep, DOE reported approximately 15 percent of customers on St. Thomas and 10 percent of customers on St. Croix have had powered restored, including critical facilities such as airports and hospitals.


    • On 30 Sep, FEMA reported the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (VIWAPA) expects to re-energize portions of Cruz Bay, St. Thomas between 09 Oct and 14 Oct


Transportation and Fuel Status

  • All commercial airports in Puerto Rico are operational. Recovery efforts are now supporting more than a dozen commercial passenger flights per day at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Six hurricane relief flights, including military flights, are arriving at Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) per day.
  • 26 chainsaw teams and one Incident Management Team (IMT) (23 individuals) from the Department of Agriculture’s United States Forest Service arrived in Puerto Rico Wednesday to conduct emergency road clearance and manage logistics.
  • A fourteen-person team from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting debris removal and tree clearance to help restore access to roads in Vieques.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) debris experts are assisting FEMA with debris management strategies in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • One of the first priorities is emergency route clearance in multiple locations to enable access to remote locations.


Water / Wastewater/ Waste Management System

    • The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority drinking water system is back online and other drinking water systems on the islands are top priority for receiving generators. Additionally, the Concordia potable water pump station is online in St. Croix.
    • The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Waste Management, and USACE are addressing potential public health risks of garbage build up; coordinating route clearance of wires and poles to enable garbage haulers to access the St. Thomas landfill.
    • On 01 Oct, the EPA recommended the deployment of eight assessment teams of EPA and DOH staff beginning on Monday. The first assessment visits will be to the Non-PRASA systems in the Municipality of Cagua

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