Hurricane Harvey – MOVE Response Efforts

September 15 Update – This week, our volunteers traveled to Corpus Christi (a three-hour drive from Houston) to visit RC District 2 Headquarters for training of staff and to evaluate and repair emergency response vehicles as needed. Two vehicles were repaired and used as training examples. The landscape en route to Corpus Christi was dramatically different from Houston, where flooding and water damage were the primary effects. In Rockport, where Harvey’s eye wall came ashore, there was much more wind damage. Whole sections of power lines were missing, and many buildings were damaged or destroyed. (Update from Jay Diepenbrock, MOVE volunteer)

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September 9 (11:45 PM) – Meanwhile in Houston….the Houston MOVE team had a very busy day today evaluating 15 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs).  These are trucks the Red Cross uses to distribute hot meals prepared at the kitchen sites by partners of the Red Cross who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. About half of the ERVs required various repairs, including replacement of antennas, antenna mounts, microphones, and public address (PA) amplifiers.  Volunteers also set up a UHF base station in the operations room at Red Cross Headquarters to facilitate communications between the various Red Cross functions.

There are still about 8,000 people in shelters, but that number is decreasing as people are beginning to repair their damaged homes. There’s still a lot of work to be done in Houston, but there is also concern about what Irma will do in the southeastern US.  The Red Cross is mobilizing in anticipation of Irma and Jose, and looking for volunteers.

September 6 – The 2017 Hurricane Season is in full swing and Hurricane IRMA is projected to reach Florida by this weekend. The IEEE-USA MOVE truck will be leaving Houston today and heading East to position itself for Irma (this will be determined by the Red Cross). IEEE-USA Volunteers, Jay Diepenbrock and Steve Kemp, have been deployed to Houston and will remain in Texas to continue with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.


September 5 – The IEEE-USA team is working with the American Red Cross and monitoring the status of Hurricane Irma.  We are preparing to mobilize our volunteers to address this situation.

In the meantime,  the MOVE team continues to support Relief efforts in Texas. Additional MOVE volunteers are being deployed to help relieve the workers in Houston. The truck may be moving east soon, but team members will remain to assist.

A couple of highlights from the past few days:

  • The IEEE Houston Section was mobilized and assisted with relief efforts in the Houston Area.  Visit this site for more details.
  • On September 2, IEEE-USA MOVE Volunteer Tim Forrest met with Senator Ted Cruz (photo) and gave him a briefing about MOVE’s mission and capabilities.

August 30 – As conditions improve in downtown Houston, there are still life safety concerns north of the team and significant damage south of Houston. Many of the Red Cross volunteers are being moved to shelters by helicopters from Red Cross Headquarters in Houston. An afternoon briefing in the Emergency Operations Center of the Red Cross stated that the primary mission is still life and safety of the people. Disaster assessment and recovery efforts will follow.

FEATUREDIEEE-USA InSight’s John Yaglenski interviews Volunteer Grayson Randall, who is on the ground in Houston, Texas as part of IEEE-USA MOVE Community Outreach’s Hurricane Harvey deployment.

August 29 – Finally today the team saw some sun in Houston and the weather seems to be improving.  Rivers are not expected to crest for another 3-5 days so the flooding is not over. Tractor trailers are streaming in now to the Convention Center so they must have found a route into this part of the city. This shelter has over 9,000 people here and therefore the food, drinks, supplies that are arriving now are much appreciated.  Tim, Grayson and Pete Borchardt (Red Cross Volunteer) are supporting all of the Information technology needs for this facility.

August 28 – Described by our volunteers as looking like a war zone, the MOVE truck is parked behind the convention center under a large interstate bridge. Helicopters fly in to unload rescued people and land right above them on the bridge (They have been doing this all day and all evening).

Continued heavy rain today and some wind. People continue to stream into the convention center. Buses are bringing people to the mega shelter. Local communities still being evacuated. River crests still days away.

The team is setting up radio communication as a backup in case of an infrastructure failure. So far the cell signal and wifi have been strong in the facility. Makes their job a little easier.

(9:00 AM ET) – Last night, the shelter population was around 700. This morning they are at almost 2500 clients and growing! Red Cross volunteers had a busy night.

Today, the IEEE-USA MOVE team will support the technology infrastructure required to support the many programs in operation at this mega shelter – Feeding, sleeping, medical, mental health, managing volunteers and resources on site, family reunification and more.

floodedlot160(12:30 AM ET) – Crisis narrowly averted! Just before bedtime last night, waters rose a foot in the parking lot, reaching the generator and exhaust. This happened in less than an hour! Thanks to the alertness of to IEEE-USA volunteer Tim Forrest, the truck was quickly moved out of harm’s way onto a ramp going into the building. Check out the videos on our Facebook page.

27 August (11:30 PM ET) – The initial Houston IEEE-USA MOVE deployment team (Grayson Randall and Tim Forrest) are supporting the mega shelter at the Houston Convention Center. The IEEE-USA MOVE truck carried several cases of communications equipment to the site today after getting a briefing on road closures. Cots are set up for 1,050 clients. Additional cots are being set up tonight in another part of the convention center. Anyone rescued is brought here as well as displaced people who need food and shelter. IEEE-USA MOVE provides communications support to Red Cross staff.

tornadowarning(2:45 PM ET) – The weather situation is still quite volatile at the Red Cross Headquarters in Houston and volunteers have been evacuated to the center of the building 3 separate times in one hour due to tornado warnings. A plan of attack is being devised and the team has a lot of relief work ahead of them once it is safe to venture out. Our thoughts are with all the volunteers and individuals affected by this historic storm.

map20026 August (10:00 PM ET) – IEEE-USA volunteers arrived in Houston tonight after a very long day (they logged 1, 357 miles!). MOVE volunteers will help with disaster service technology tasks and provide power, internet access, charging and other relief efforts.

(1:00 AM ET) – Hurricane Harvey has made landfall as a category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph.  Due to the slow moving nature of this storm, this deployment is expected to bring historic rainfall, significant flooding and many people left without power.  We expect this to be an extended event.  If interested in supporting this deployment, please visit this page.

Stay safe everyone!

25 August  – MOVE has been deployed and is on its way to Texas to help with disaster recovery efforts. Hurricane Harvey has intensified to a category 2 hurricane and is expected to reach category 3 as it hits landfall late Friday/early Saturday. Life-threatening conditions are expected to last for days and 30+ inches of rain, 120 miles per hour winds, and significant storm surges/flooding expected.

  • Please note: We may need additional disaster relief technology volunteers or people with photography/social media skills. If interested/available, please send an e-mail to the team at  mo**@ie*****.org.

24 August – Tropical storm Harvey threatens to bring catastrophic flooding across Texas. The IEEE-USA team is monitoring the situation and preparing to help with relief efforts as needed.

Hurricane warnings have been issued and due to the slow moving nature of this storm, rainfall of up to 30 inches is expected in some areas.

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You Can Help

MOVE is funded by donations like yours. Your support is greatly appreciated. Please consider helping the MOVE Community Outreach program by donating to the cause.

Interested in volunteering? Please visit our volunteer information page.