Posts Tagged ‘Midwest flooding’

Spring Flooding: So Far, So Good

March 24th, 2010

You may have seen the news that so far, the situation is stable in the Midwest, and we had a major flood with minimal damage in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota – despite extremely high water levels and lots of snow melt.  I’m really proud of the tremendous efforts we’ve had, alongside our state and local partners, in preparing for potential flooding in those areas.

Right now, we have 116 USACE personnel engaged in the Midwest; we’ve handed out 320,500 sandbags, 37 pumps, and a little over 5 miles of HESCO Bastion, which is a large metal and mesh structure used to temporarily make levees taller. We have also installed numerous miles of temporary levees, which are reducing the risk of flooding throughout North Dakota.

Here’s a video story that can help you understand what we’re dealing with in the Midwest right now:

All these emergency preparations were ironically underway right in the middle of Flood Safety Awareness Week, so I’d like to take a moment to share with you some important information about flooding – because it’s not just a Midwest issue, at all.

Flooding is the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster in the United States each year.  Because of an unusually wet and snowy winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is anticipating particularly harsh spring floods for much of the country this year.  It’s important that you be prepared for possible flooding and do what you can to protect your family, home and property. Preparedness is important even if you don’t live in high-risk flood areas.     

There are a number of things you can do to better prepare for flooding and reduce your risks.  Check out this Web site –  – for some great, useful information.

Emergency Response, Levees

Update: Flooding in America’s Heartland

July 15th, 2008

We’ve been a bit busy around here with the Midwest floods and all.  The good news is, the water is receding, and we are working with key stakeholders on a long term recovery plan for the people in America’s Heartland.

I just want to say how impressed I am with the selflessness and fortitude of the people I met on my trips out there during the height of the disaster. It’s humbling to see so many people who, in the most difficult of circumstances, still reach out to help their neighbors by filling sandbags and floodfighting. I saw good  people pulling together in a most extraordinary way!

One amazing case in point – Clarksville, Missouri. I toured this historic little river town-a town with no levee protection- with their courageous mayor. The people of Clarksville really pulled together and built a temporary levee of sandbags – and it held. Some of the homes were impacted, but the passion and hard work of the folks there really saved their downtown area. It was an amazing sight. 

This is a picture of me getting interviewed by an Associated Press reporter, with the sandbag levee behind us

This is me doing an interview with an AP reporter, Jim Salter, with the "sandbag levee" behind us

I want to offer special recognition to the National Guard units from all of the states – exceptional work!

And our Corps employees did us proud- working around the clock to “get ‘er done”: from shoring up levees, to inspecting dams, to providing water, temporary power and housing assistance.  They answered the call! The rebuilding effort continues today. I just heard that in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, we’re building a modular village of 35 buildings to house the school district employees in time for the new school year.

My thoughts and prayers remain with all the people who were impacted by the flooding, and I want to assure you that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will stand with you through this recovery!

Emergency Response, Levees , , , , ,

Flooding in America’s Heartland

June 12th, 2008

Throughout the Midwest today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with state and local levee districts, emergency responders, elected officials and other federal agencies to coordinate flood fighting activities. Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa are among the hardest hit right now, and Missouri and Nebraska are on alert.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people who live in the affected areas, and with our teammates, who are once again on the scene when the Nation needs us.

Extreme flooding in Indiana

Extreme flooding in Indiana

As of today (June 12, 2008), a total of 1,676,700 sandbags and 79 pumps have been issued to support state requests for assistance. There are currently 152 of our dedicated employees engaged in the response effort, and I expect more are on their way.

We are also supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts, by providing technical assistance for dam inspections and debris. In addition, we’re providing engineering and environmental expertise to FEMA’s housing planning team – which is an interagency group that works with the state to identify what housing options are available to meet the needs of that specific area.

In Iowa, we’ve really taken on a new and unique role when it comes to commodities, like tarps, drinking water or ready to eat meals. We’re helping state and local officials build their capabilities when it comes to ordering, delivering and distributing those goods. We’re coordinating with the state and local governments to provide temporary power to critical public facilities in Iowa, as well.

We’ve got a deep bench of seasoned pros who are already on this, and people coming out of the woodwork volunteering to help. I’m so proud to be a part of this team.

Emergency Response, Levees , , , , , ,