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2011 Tropical Storm Irene

UB LESAM/MCEER Team Assesses Damage to Communities in NYS Following Tropical Storm Irene

A structure in Prattsville, NY was severely damaged by floodwaters following Tropical Storm Irene.

A structure in Prattsville, NY was severely damaged by floodwaters following Tropical Storm Irene.

A team of UB LESAM/MCEER researchers visited a number of communities within the Schoharie Creek watershed west of the Catskill Mountains in New York State, including the hard hit town of Prattsville, on September 10, 2011. The team collected GPS locations and took digital photographs to assess the extent of the damage caused by heavy flooding following Tropical Storm Irene.

Members of the reconnaissance team included Chris Renschler (LESAM Director, MCEER faculty member and NSF IPLER Co-PI), Graham Hayes (post-doctoral LESAM Research scientist), and Ryan Mendieta, Alejandro Llaves, Zhihao Wang (all students in the Department of Geography working on LESAM research). Besides the field site observations, the LESAM/MCEER team is analyzing the hydrological data, maximum extent of the flood inundation using aerial imagery, LiDAR elevation data, hydrologic modeling approaches and social media responses. The aerial imagery was collected by the IPLER collaborators at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Kucera International using the same remote sensing platform used following the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. In addition to the assessment of this event, the data will be used to create a baseline to assist scientists and the stakeholders in the impacted communities in the development of improved of flood and watershed models for future events.

The UB LESAM/MCEER site reconnaissance team visited Prattsville, NY on September 10 to collect images and document the extent of the disaster. Shown from left are Ryan Mendieta, Alejandro Llaves, Zhihao Wang and Graham Hayes.

The UB LESAM/MCEER site reconnaissance team visited Prattsville, NY on September 10 to collect images and document the extent of the disaster. Shown from left are Ryan Mendieta, Alejandro Llaves, Zhihao Wang and Graham Hayes.

The reconnaissance was arranged by the NSF-sponsored Information Products Laboratory for Emergency Response (IPLER) project, co-led by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University at Buffalo (UB). For more information on IPLER, an NSF-sponsored partnership between the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University at Buffalo dedicated to innovation in disaster management, visit http://ipler.cis.rit.edu.

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