WALLA WALLA, Wash. – An 18-member U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Team (PRT) from the Walla Walla District deployed today, Sept. 8, in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) request for temporary emergency-power assistance in anticipation of Tropical Storm Mangkhut, moving toward the vicinity of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam, U.S. territories located east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean, according to District emergency management officials.
The tropical disturbance is the subject of a Tropical Cyclone Advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, according to a National Weather Service Special Weather Statement www.weather.gov/gum/Cyclones
. This morning, it was located about 940 miles east of Guam, moving westward, and “clearly strengthening” as it approaches the Marianas and Guam https://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?issuedby=PQ1&product=HLS&site=gum
In a Sept. 7 press release (Guam’s time zone, Chamorro Standard Time (ChST), is 17 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time), Guam’s Offices of Civil Defense and Homeland Security www.ghs.guam.gov/
said a FEMA incident management assistance team was enroute to provide support to Guam’s Emergency Operations Center "out of an abundance of caution" and coordination had already begun among various government agencies, military and federal partners.
A Sept. 8 (ChST) press release from Guam’s EOC reported “damaging winds of 39-57 mph are expected within 48 hours.” The tropical storm is expected to intensify, possibly becoming a Category 4 typhoon by the time it reaches Guam. The EOC advises residents to prepare for the worst-case-scenario of a Category 5 typhoon.
-- Category 4 Typhoon is referred to as a “Very Strong Typhoon” with maximum sustained winds of 130-156 and peak gusts of 165-198 mph.
-- Category 5 Typhoon is referred to as a “Devastating Typhoon” with maximum sustained winds of 157-194 mph and peak gusts of 199-264 mph.
The Walla Walla District’s Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Team (Power PRT) will support FEMA’s emergency-response operations based in Guam.
Jean DesJarlais, the District’s emergency power-response team lead and hydropower business line manager at the District Headquarters in Walla Walla, Washington; and Kevin Kuhar, a District mechanical engineer who provides cost-engineering support to the Department of Energy in Richland, Washington; will serve as Power PRT mission managers. Both reside in Walla Walla.
A real estate specialist and Troy Gilbert, a civil engineer and District Levee Safety Program manager, will serve as Power PRT action officers. Both are from the District Headquarters and reside in Walla Walla.
Victoria Richmond, a contract specialist in Contracting Division, who resides in Walla Walla; and Alfredo Rodriguez, a civil engineer and reservoir regulator in the District’s Hydrology and Hydraulics section, who resides in College Place, Washington; will serve as Power PRT mission specialists. Both are from the District Headquarters.
Aaron Schuff, a civil engineer and contracting officer representative for the District’s Construction Branch at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, who resides in Pasco, Washington, will serve as the Power PRT’s quality assurance lead.
Six deployees will serve as Power PRT quality assurance specialists -- Alex Almeida, a power plant electrician from Lower Monumental Lock and Dam, near Kahlotus, Washington, who resides in Kennewick, Washington; Shawn Cunningham, an electronics systems control craftsworker from McNary Lock and Dam, near Umatilla, Oregon, who resides in Kennewick; Carlos Flores, an electrical engineer from Electrical Design Section at the District Headquarters, who resides in Walla Walla; Shawn McCann, a power plant electrician from Little Goose Lock and Dam near Starbuck, Washington, who resides in Dayton, Washington; Pavel Susin, an electrical engineer from Operations Division’s Technical Support Branch at the District Headquarters, who resides in College Place; and Jim Wade, a maintenance control specialist from Lower Granite Lock and Dam, near Pomeroy, Washington, who resides in Pomeroy.
Julie Morris, a contract specialist, who resides in Walla Walla; and Mary VanSickle, a contract specialist, who resides in College Place; will provide contracting support for the Power PRT. Both are from Contracting Division at the District Headquarters.
Two deployees from Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, near Burbank, Washington will serve as Power PRT logistics specialists -- a power plant electrician and Josh Dougan, an electrical crew supervisor, who resides in Burbank, Washington.
Lonnie Croft, a maintenance worker from Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake in Walla Walla, Washington, who resides in College Place, will service as a mission liaison at the Pacific Ocean Division’s Recovery Field Office in Honolulu, Hawaii.
POWER PRT BACKGROUND
The Walla Walla District maintains one of the Corps’ seven Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Teams (PRTs), ready to deploy as part of the Corps’ Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3, public works and engineering-related support. The Corps’ emergency power teams, often with soldiers from the 249th Engineer Battalion, conduct assessments and install generators to assist with getting critical public facilities operational in the wake of disaster.
The all-volunteer teams can provide backup electrical power generation anywhere an emergency makes the service needed. Team members agree to be in an on-call status, ready to deploy on short-notice when disaster strikes. Power team members directly support FEMA-led emergency management staging areas and operations centers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is prepared and ready to respond to natural and human-made disasters. When disasters occur, Corps teams and other resources are mobilized from across the country to assist our local districts and offices to deliver our response missions. The Corps is part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies, and serves as the lead agency to respond with public works and engineering support, and to coordinate long-term infrastructure recovery. The Corps conducts its emergency response activities under two basic authorities – the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act, and mission-assigned by FEMA, under the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act.
In any disaster, the Corps’ top priorities are 1) support immediate life-saving and life-safety response priorities; 2) sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary emergency power and other needs; and 3) initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring critical infrastructure.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror. For information about FEMA’s response to recent hurricane activity, visit their website www.fema.gov.
NOTE TO EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: At the request of deployees, some names of those supporting disaster-response operations will not be released until they return from deployment. Please, contact the Public Affairs Office with any questions. Photos (screenshots) of Tropical Storm Mangkhut, are available courtesy of NOAA-National Weather Service, Guam Field Station https://www.goes.noaa.gov/guam/guamloops/guamvs.html