Hurricane Laura Response

12 September 2020 – The MOVE truck completes its assignment in Lake Charles, LA, and heads back to its home base. Jay and John packed up the MOVE truck for the two-day return trip to its home base in Durham, NC, after supporting the SW Louisiana Center for Health Services with WiFi Internet access and occasional power. A few people used power from the truck to charge cell phones as well.

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10 September 2020 – MOVE still in Lake Charles, LA. at the SWLA Center for Health Services. Yesterday, the team distributed food, meals, and supplies again yesterday. They also took the generator down briefly for maintenance, so the MOVE team again supplied them with power for working in the interior of the building. They are in preparation for the planned reopening of the medical clinic on Monday, 9/14

6 September 2020 – The SW LA Health Center was closed on Sunday, so Jay and John relocated the MOVE truck to a church where the United Cajun Navy was distributing cleaning and other supplies, and the Salvation Army was providing meals.

This also gave the team an opportunity to survey the damage in Lake Charles while traveling between locations. The damage is widespread and severe. It’s strange though – one house might be completely destroyed, while the one next door is basically unscathed.

This house is across the street from where the MOVE truck is located. The Catholic church next door to the house was undamaged. There are many trees uprooted or broken off, many power poles broken or leaning, wires in the road, etc.

The Health Center’s generator was repaired, but their Internet service is still out, so we continue to provide them with WiFi access to the Internet from the MOVE truck.

5 September 2020 (Update) – The center’s generator failed late Friday, knocking out the power and water. The repair was delayed due to parts availability, so the team ran an extension cord into the building from the truck, to provide interior lights and the ability for the staff to recharge their cellphones.

The landline phones are still out, and much of Lake Charles is still without power. The Center continues to provide meals, food, and cleaning and other supplies to the community. Power company trucks were working on the street to repair damaged lines.

5 September 2020 – MOVE is at the Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services, a facility that shares a building with a community center. The clinic is currently closed, but the building is now being used for storage and distribution of food, clothing, and other supplies to the community. WiFi Internet service is being provided to the Center’s staff using the MOVE truck’s satellite system and cell phone charging capability is made available to the public. MOVE may relocate to other areas of need as required.

4 September 2020 – The MOVE team arrived in Lake Charles, Louisiana (one of the areas most severely affected by Hurricane Laura0. There are many destroyed buildings, billboards, and structures, broken off trees and power poles. Power is off in most of Lake Charles, even a week after Laura struck.

The initial location of the truck is the Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services, a clinic that shares a building with a community center. The roof was torn off the community center, destroying their server and disabling their network and WiFi service for the whole building.

3 September 2020 – IEEE-USA’s MOVE Disaster Response Vehicle (with volunteers Jay Diepenbrock and John Balsam on board) deployed to southwest Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Laura to provide communications support, public wi-fi and phone charging services at the SWLA Center for Health Services, a community hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana that remains operating despite suffering significant storm damage.

2 September 2020 – The MOVE Disaster Response Vehicle (with volunteers Jay Diepenrock and John Balsam onboard) is en route to southwest Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

27 August 2020 – This morning Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Cameron, Louisiana. It is weakening as it moves northward.

The American Red Cross is currently sheltering people in Texas, as well as supporting sheltering efforts, led by local government, across Louisiana providing food, comfort and care to evacuees fleeing the storm. Sheltering is happening across both states in traditional large-scale shelters, as well as hotels wherever possible due to COVID-19.

The full damage and impacts from this catastrophic storm are unknown at this time. However, the Red Cross has plans for feeding, distribution of emergency supplies and damage assessment activities, taking into account additional safety precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak, and will enact these plans after the storm has passed.

MOVE is positioning itself in anticipation of a possible deployment.

National Hurricane Center tracking >>

26 August 2020, 1:00 PM CDTHurricane Laura is currently an extremely dangerous category 4 with winds currently at 140+ MPH. Catastrophic storm surge (could reach 15+ feet, and push 30+ miles inland), extreme winds, and flash flooding expected along the Gulf Coast.

The MOVE team is poised and ready to assist if asked to deploy.

25 August 2020, 7:00 PM CDT – Currently a category 1 hurricane, Laura is intensifying over the Gulf of Mexico and expected to become a major hurricane (Category 3) prior to striking the upper Texas or southwest Louisiana coasts late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds will batter the coast and a threat of flooding rain and strong winds will extend well inland.

24 August 2020, 10:00 AM CDT – Both TS Marco and TS Laura could produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding across portions of the northern Gulf coast during the next several days, with the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center highlighting a moderate risk of flash flooding across southwestern Louisiana on Wednesday. Source: NOAA

23 August 2020, 7:30 PM CDTHurricane Marco is expected to move near the Louisiana coast Monday. The storm is predicted to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 7 inches across the Central U.S. Gulf Coast through Tuesday. This rainfall may result in scattered areas of flash and urban flooding along the Central U.S. Gulf Coast.

Tropical Storm Laura is now located over eastern Cuba. Heavy rains are now occurring over eastern Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica. Laura is expected to strengthen as the storm moves over the Gulf of Mexico, and Laura is forecast to become a hurricane late Tuesday or Tuesday night.

22 August 2020 – Tropical Storm Laura will affect the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with heavy rains, flash flooding, mudslides, and tropical-storm-force winds.

The forecast track for Laura continues to move west. It is steered by a large high pressure over the western Atlantic (the Bermuda High). A stationary front over the mid-Atlantic states, trailing a warm front over the central southern states, blocks any northward movement today. Strengthening of both storms is expected over the next few days.

The 48-hour surface map shows both the stationary front and the warm front dissipating as a strong high pressure in the center of the country moves east allowing both storms to move more northerly.

21 August 2020 – The National Hurricane Center is forecasting for two tropical systems to reach hurricane strength, with both sharing the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. Currently tropical storms, Marco and Laura are scheduled to make landfall early next week. The MOVE team is closely monitoring the situation and are ready to respond if deployed.