NOAA Magazine || NOAA Home Page || Previous Story

NOAA HURRICANE KATRINA SUPPORT ACTIVITIES
Aerial Photography Flights Yield Thousands of Images

NOAA image of Grand Isle, La., taken on Aug. 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast.Sept. 8, 2005 The day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast NOAA began aerial photography flights of the affected areas. For nine days the NOAA Cessna Citation aircraft flew two to three missions each day only stopping to re-fuel. Nearly 7,000 aerial images were produced from these missions. The NOAA Citation flew aerial photography missions in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes, La., on Wednesday. Plaquemines Parish is where Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, at approximately 7:10 a.m. EDT. (Click NOAA image for larger view of Grand Isle, La., taken on Aug. 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

The demand for the aerial images has been astounding. From Sept. 1 - 7, about five million photos were downloaded each day resulting in more than 27 terrabytes of data being delivered to meet the intense public interest.

NOAA also is providing a variety of support activities for areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Below is a summary of activities completed or anticipated to start within the next several days.

NOAA image of New Orleans, La., taken on Aug. 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina struck causing damage to the Superdome sports arena.NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations
NOAA SHIP NANCY FOSTER will complete its survey of approximately 3 square nautical miles in the approaches to Mobile, Ala. No obstructions reported to date.
NOAA SHIP THOMAS JEFFERSON is transiting to the area. On Wednesday it was just south of the Florida Keys. (Click NOAA image for larger view of New Orleans, La., taken on Aug. 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina struck causing damage to the Superdome sports arena. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

NOAA Ocean Service
NOAA Office of Response and Restoration personnel are assisting the Coast Guard, EPA and State of Louisiana to identify, assess and mitigate more than 200 reported releases and unreported hazardous material problems, such as hundreds of stranded drums of unknown materials. There also are more than 70 pending salvage operations that have some type of pollution threat. NOAA OR&R responders have conducted preliminary reconnaissance of incidents at the Murphy Oil Refinery and the Bass Enterprises Storage Facility both in Louisiana.

NOAA image of New Orleans, La., taken on Aug. 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina struck causing a levee to breach.NOAA Navigational Response Teams, or NRTs, mobile emergency response units equipped and trained to survey ports and nearby shore waterways, have been dispatched to various locations in the affected areas. These teams check for submerged obstructions that could cause hazards to shipping. (Click NOAA image for larger view of New Orleans, La., taken on Aug. 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina struck causing a levee to breach. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

  • NRT1 surveyed Bayou La Batre, Ala., on Tuesday. Two submerged wrecks were found—a depth of 11.5 feet was measured over one of the wrecks and is the controlling depth for this waterway. Survey data was provided to the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This completes the survey requests for the Mobile area.
  • NRT1 consolidated its equipment Wednesday and was set to begin transit to Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday to join with NRT6.
  • NRT2 was detached from Mobile survey area Tuesday. It transited to the Florida Keys to survey an exit channel for a propane barge that grounded when Katrina passed over Florida. NRT2 was on scene Tuesday morning, and work was expected to be completed Wednesday.
  • NRT4 completed surveys in the Mississippi River between mile 115 and mile 130. A minimum depth of 41 feet was found in the Fairview Crossing. This information has been provided to Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers for their information regarding vessel transits in this stretch of the river.
  • NRT4 on Wednesday began to side scan survey the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway beginning in Houma, La., and proceeding to New Orleans. This project is expected to take two days to complete.
  • NRT6 was expected to be in Lafayette, La., Wednesday afternoon to link with the Eastern Gulf navigation manager. NRT6 is equipped with multibeam sonar, which is an additional aid in determining depths over obstructions.

A NOAA hydrographic data services provider vessel is working on the lower Mississippi River from mile 20 north. No new obstructions have been reported.

NOAA Fisheries Service
Agents from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement delivered a NOAA boat to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers in Biloxi, Miss., to be used in search and rescue efforts.
Six agents from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement are supporting the NOAA National Weather Service and other NOAA mission critical functions in the Slidell, La., Bay St. Louis, Miss., and New Orleans areas.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Aerial Images of USA Gulf Coast Impacted by Hurricane Katrina

NOAA Remote Sensing Division

NOAA National Geodetic Survey

NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations

NOAA Ocean Service

NOAA Fisheries Service

Media Contact:
Greg Hernandez, NOAA, (202) 482-3091 (aerial images) or David Miller, NOAA, (202) 482-0013 (NOAA Katrina activities)