The catastrophic flooding and winds of Hurricane Harvey impacted millions of Americans across Texas and Louisiana. Now, as Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms recorded, is downgraded to a tropical storm, the process of rescue and recovery begins.
As leaders of their community, city officials are faced with the daunting tasks of preparing for and/or rebuilding from these natural disasters. In an effort to support the cities and Americans affected, the National League of Cities (NLC) has compiled a list of resources to help your community recover and rebuild.
Florida Emergency Information Line has been activated 24/7. For up to date information regarding Hurricane Irma, call 1-800-342-3557.
In order to find a hurricane shelter close to you, you can text the word "shelter" and your zip code to the number 4-F-E-M-A or 4-3-3-6-2.
Before you go to a shelter, always check with your local emergency management agency to make sure it's not full.
Note: Texting FEMA is not a substitute for calling 911.
This case study from NLC partners IBTS summarizes the lessons learned and experiences gained by the City of Central officials and municipal services staff, and IBTS staff during the Louisiana floods in August 2016. Flood events are presented as they unfolded, highlighting the steps that the city and IBTS took to respond to the flood and how the city is navigating the recovery process — paired with commentary from those who were there, offering lessons learned before, during and after the disaster.
NLC partner Accela is offering all affected government entities in Texas, Louisiana and Florida free access to a cloud based rapid damage assessment solution that can be used by city and county inspectors to streamline the process of evaluating properties or basic life safety, as well as collecting information required for FEMA relief. Accela undertook a similar effort with the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Please reach out to Tim Woodbury at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Esri’s Disaster Response Program, created specifically for events like Harvey and Irma, provides software, data coordination, technical support and other GIS assistance to any organization that needs it. Even before Harvey’s landfall, Esri mobilized direct assistance to the Red Cross, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, the Texas Health Department and FEMA.
Their Tropical Storm Harvey: Current Conditions suite provides tabs linking to track & forecast, watches and warnings, rain forecast, flood gauges, traffic & alerts, road closures, shelter locations, and crowdsourced photos. The Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones Story Map can help identify the potential impact of the storm, including:
Public Information Map – identifies the current and recent location of Harvey as well as forecast positions and probable track; additionally, the shaded area is called the “cone of uncertainty,” the likely path of the center of Harvey.
Impact Summary Map – shows the storm surge by identifying locations most at risk for life-threatening inundation from storm surge; according to Esri’s data, the total population at risk is 248k people, 99k households, and 10k businesses.
Forecast Precipitation Map – forecasts the amount of rain expected within the next 72-hour period
Individuals organizations seeking GIS assistance from Esri can request assistance online or contact the Esri Disaster Response Program directly.
In response to the flooding following Hurricane Harvey, NLC partner AirBnb is expanding their Disaster Response Program to provide free temporary housing accommodations to affected residents and helping emergency responders and relief workers. Representatives are working with many partners to spread the word, as well as add more hosts and available housing. All available housing will be free to evacuees through September 25.
Responders and support partners can view $0 listings for Hurricane Harvey online to identify places to stay. For organizations without a corporate account, AirBnB representatives will create a business travel account to help book.
American cities are increasingly at risk from storm surges caused by frequent, high precipitation weather patterns. Researchers from the University of South Florida found that, “with nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population residing in coastal areas, compound flooding can have devastating impacts for low-lying, densely populated and heavily developed regions when strong storm surge and high rainfall amounts occur together.”
NLC calls on Congress to re-authorize the National Flood Insurance Program and keep flood insurance rates affordable for primary, non-primary and business properties while balancing the fiscal solvency of the program.
The U.S. Communities Recovery and Relief Center will help you find the material resources you need to begin rebuilding. From plywood to generators and equipment you can rent, the Center makes it easy to find what your community needs.
NLC's partners are committed to supporting cities across America, and have responded to the recent storms by volunteering time, resources and manpower. Learn more about the efforts our partners have contributed to rebuilding after this crisis.
- The American Red Cross (ARC) has mobilized a massive relief effort to provide shelter, food and comfort, sending hundreds of Red Cross Volunteers from across the country to support shelter and other operations.
- Strada Education Network Commits $1 Million to Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Efforts
- Clear Channel Outdoor is working with Red Cross and local municipalities by donating their digital media across the US to help them get the word out about need for donations.
- Wells Fargo donates $1 million to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and waives ATM fees for those in affected areas.
- T-Mobile offering free calling and texting to customers in the path of Hurricane Harvey.
- The Home Depot Foundation has committed $1 million to support Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana. Funds will be distributed to several nonprofit partners including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon to support both short-term relief and rebuilding needs.