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MPTX Associates | Hazard Mitigation2018-04-29T22:53:01+00:00
MPTX Grant Administration CDBG-DR 4266, 4269, 4272: MPTX serves as grant administrator for CDBG-DR 4266, 4269, 4272 (Texas 2016 Floods) for Newton County, Texas. MPTX will handle project delivery and management functions and assist grant oversight with Newton County staff and Texas General Land Office for a for a projected $40 million housing and infrastructure project.    MPTX Grant Administration CDBG-DR 4223, 4245, 4255: MPTX serves as grant administrator for CDBG-DR 4223, 4245, 4255 (Texas 2015 Floods) for Hardin County, Texas. As lead application developer, MPTX will guide project delivery and management functions on a projected $3 million flood mitigation project.    MPTX Hazard Mitigation Planning: MPTX is currently developing FEMA sanctioned Hazard Mitigation Action Plans (HMAP) for Angelina County, Texas, Polk County, Texas, and Newton County, Texas which will span the 5-year period of 2017-2022.    MPTX Hazard Mitigation Grant Applications: MPTX serves as lead application developer and project manager for a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) flood-prone property acquisition project in Vernon Parish, Louisiana slated for 2017-2019… and emergency generators for the Newton County Courthouse and 1st responder staging area.

MPTX Associates (MPTX) is a professional contracting firm specializing in hazard mitigation, emergency management, floodplain administration, and regional planning services (NAIC 541611 Administrative Management & General Management Consulting Services). Our focus is guiding and assisting local and regional agencies to benefit from federal programs and achieve goals of long term resiliency and community development.

MPTX is registered in good standing with the federal System for Award Management (SAM) and maintains excellent working relationships with local, state, and federal sanctioning agencies. We firmly support emergency service functions and law enforcement, and our men and women in uniform serving our nation at home and overseas.

ASSISTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

HAZARD MITIGATION

Plan development and updates, grant applications, and project management is what we do.
Experience, professionalism, and service are our strengths.

MPTX SERVICES

FEMA MITIGATION, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
AND DISASTER RESPONSE GRANTS

MPTX staff from 2005 – 2018 have developed 24 awarded grant applications for government agencies totaling $31 million in project funding. Awarded project types include:

  • floodprone property acquisition / relocation,
  • wildfire defensible space / fuels reduction,
  • fire equipment,
  • flood control / stormwater drainage,
  • planning, scoping, and feasibility studies.

Project types in current development include seismic rehabilitation for critical facilities, storm-hardening retrofit for critical infrastructure, and 911/emergency operations center development.

GRANT ADMINISTRATION

As a standard service MPTX assists and guides local governments with grant administration and programmatic requirements coordinated with state agencies.  This includes preparing and filing quarterly reports, preparation of reimbursement/funds advance requests, in-kind services as cost match, project documentation and closeout.

MITIGATION PLANNING

MPTX staff has successfully conducted 26 hazard mitigation planning projects during the last 10 years, all of which were approved by sanctioning agencies (TDEM and FEMA Region VI), and adopted by all local jurisdictions. This work produced approved Disaster Mitigation Act plan documents for 78 local and regional jurisdictions and agencies and corresponding eligibility for Federal grants.

FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT/ADMINISTRATION

MPTX staff has updated or conducted reviews of Flood Damage Prevention Orders for 16 jurisdictions, and provides Floodplain Administration services for local governments.

MAPPING & DATABASE DEVELOPMENT

MPTX utilizes ESRI ArcMap 10.4 and 10.2.2 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to produce advanced mapping in support of our projects. Mapping shapefiles and corresponding information databases developed during projects are shared with local governments as a tool for future planning and mapping applications.

BENEFIT-COST ANALYSIS, PROJECT SCOPING, AND FEASIBILITY STUDY

MPTX staff has extensive experience with scoping and feasibility study for potential projects. We employ the latest FEMA Benefit-Cost Analysis software (FEMA BCA 5.1.1) and have developed project scopes of various types approved by state sanctioning agencies and FEMA.

HAZARD TYPES ADDRESSED

FLOODING

A flood is defined as the inundation of land by the rise and overflow of a body of water.  Floods most commonly occur as a result of heavy rainfall causing a river system or stream to exceed its normal carrying capacity.  Flood events can also occur due to dam failure or from hurricane storm surge from a hurricane or tropical storm. Flooding is one of the most pervasive natural hazard threats, with public safety, housing, property, and infrastructure all potentially impacted by flooding.  Flooding consistently ranks as the costliest natural disaster in the United States.

There are two primary types of flooding: riverine flooding and flash floods.  Riverine flooding is a natural occurrence where a waterway exceeds its ‘bank full’ capacity and inundates the adjacent floodplain.  According to common usage, a floodplain is that area that is inundated by the 100-year flood (a flood that has a 1 percent chance in any given year of being equaled or exceeded).  Riverine flooding is affected by the intensity and distribution of rainfall, soil moisture, seasonal variation in vegetation, and water-resistance of the surface areas caused by urbanization.

Flash flooding is a localized flood that results from a short duration of intense rainfall across a limited geographic area.

Flood Announcement and Warning Definitions

RIVERINE FLOODING
Flood Potential Outlook (FPO):Announcement to alert the public of potentially heavy rainfall that could send rivers and streams into flood or aggravate an existing flood.
Flood Watch:Announcement to inform the public that current or developing conditions indicate a threat of flooding, but occurrence is neither certain nor imminent.
Flood Warning:An announcement by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along larger streams in which there is a serious threat to life or property. A flood warning will usually contain river stage forecasts.
Flood Statement:A statement issued by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along major streams in which there is not a serious threat to life or property. It may also follow a flood warning to give later information.
FLASH FLOODS
Flash Flood Watch:Announcement that current or developing conditions indicate potential flash flooding in the watch area, but occurrence is neither certain nor imminent.
Flash Flood Warning:Issued to inform the public that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely.
Flash Flood Statement:A statement by the NWS which provides follow-up information on flash flood watches and warnings.

Source: National Weather Service Flood Safety

WILDFIRE

Wildfire is uncontrolled fire spreading through vegetative fuels or forested areas, exposing and possibly consuming structures. Wildfires often begin unnoticed, spread quickly, and are usually signaled by dense smoke that fills the area for miles around.  Wildfires are caused through human acts such as arson or careless accidents, or through natural occurrences such as lightning.  Wildfire danger is exacerbated by dry weather conditions and excessive heat.  A significant proportion of forest fires are caused by arson or other careless acts by people.

The wildland-urban interface is an area in which development meets dense vegetation.  Both vegetation and the built environment provide fuel for fires.  The table below lists fire danger rating classifications as defined by the U.S. Forest Service.

U.S. Forest Service, Fire Danger Adjective Class Rating

DANGER RATINGBASIC DESCRIPTIONDETAILED DESCRIPTION

Low

fires not easily startedFuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands. Fires in open grassland may burn freely a few hours after rain, but wood fires spread slowly by smoldering and burn in irregular fingers. Low danger of spotting.

Moderate

fires start easily and spread at a moderate rateFires can start from most accidental causes. Fires in open cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Woods fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur. Fires are not likely to become serious and control is relatively easy.

High

fires start easily and spread at a rapid rateAll fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes. Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. High intensity burning may develop on slopes or in concentrations of fuel. Fires may become serious and their control difficult, unless they are hit hard and fast while small.

Very High

fires start very easily and spread at a vary fast rateFires start easily from all causes and immediately after ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Spot fires are a constant danger. Fires burning in light fuels may quickly develop high-intensity characteristics – such as long-distance spotting – and fire whirlwinds, when they burn into heavier fuels. Direct attack at the head of such fires is rarely possible after they have been burning more than a few minutes.

Extreme

fire situation is explosive and can result in extensive property damageFires start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious. Development into high-intensity burning will usually be faster and occur from smaller fires than in the Very High Danger class (4). Direct attack is rarely possible and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition. Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning condition lasts. Under these conditions, the only effective and safe control action is on the flanks, until the weather changes or the fuel supply lessens.

Source: U.S. Forest Service, Wildland Fire Assessment System

HURRICANE

Hurricanes and tropical storms are types of tropical cyclones.  The basic difference between a hurricane and tropical storm is the intensity of the storm, measured by maximum sustained wind speed.  A hurricane has surface winds in excess of 74 miles per hour (64 knots).  The tropical storm has surface winds less than those of hurricanes, but greater than 39 miles per hour (34 knots).  For locations in the Northern Hemisphere, hurricanes and tropical storms are accompanied by a counterclockwise wind circulation near the earth’s surface.

A hurricane and tropical storm can be characterized by storm surges along a coast, high waves, severe winds, coastal erosion, extreme rainfall, thunderstorms, lightning, inland flooding, and the spawning of tornados and microbursts.  These typical cyclones will lose strength over land since their energy is derived from warm waters; however, damage from a hurricane and tropical storm can still be extremely destructive several hundred miles inland. Hurricane caused storm surge is an associated threat to Texas and other states along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a storm surge is “a dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds that can reach 25 feet high and be 50 – 1,000 miles wide.”  A simpler definition is a rise above the normal water level along a shore caused by strong onshore winds and/or reduced atmospheric pressure.

Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. The classification system for hurricanes is referred to as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale shown here.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

CATEGORY

WIND SPEED (MPH)

EXPECTED DAMAGE

1

74-95

Minimal: Damage is done primarily to shrubbery and trees, unanchored mobile homes are damaged, some signs are damaged, no real damage is done to structures.

2

96-110

Moderate: Some trees are toppled, some roof coverings are damaged, and major damage is done to mobile homes.

3

111-130

Extensive: Large trees are toppled, some structural damage is done to roofs, mobile homes are destroyed, and structural damage is done to small homes and utility buildings.

4

131-155

Extreme: Extensive damage is done to roofs, windows, and doors; roof systems on small buildings completely fail; some curtain walls fail.

5

> 155

Catastrophic: Roof damage is considerable and widespread, window and door damage is severe, there are extensive glass failures and entire buildings could fail.

Source: National Hurricane Center

LIGHTNING

Lightning is among the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazard in the United States, causing approximately 100 deaths and 500 injuries in the U.S. annually.  Lightning typically occurs as a by-product of a thunderstorm.  Then action of rising and descending air in the thunderstorm separates positive and negative charges, with lightning the result of the buildup and discharge of energy between positive and negative charge areas.  The hazard posed by lightning is underrated.  According to NOAA, an average of 20 million cloud-to-ground lighting flashes is detected every year in the continental United States.  About half of all flashes have more than one ground strike point, so at least 30 million points on the ground area struck in an average year.

TSUNAMI

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes a tsunami as a series of ocean waves generated by sudden displacements in the sea floor, landslides, volcanic activity or other large, abrupt disturbance of the sea-surface.  Tsunamis have reached heights of more than 100 feet.  As the waves approach shallow coastal waters, they appear normal and the speed decreases.  If the disturbance is close to the coastline, tsunamis can demolish coastal communities within minutes, and a large disturbance can cause inundation and destruction thousands of miles away from its epicenter.  The following figure was developed by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, showing how tectonic plate movement in a marine environment can cause a tsunami.

Tsunami - How they occur.

EARTHQUAKE

An earthquake is a sudden motion or trembling of the earth caused by an abrupt release of stored energy in the rocks beneath the earth’s surface.  The energy released results in vibrations known as seismic waves that are responsible for the trembling and shaking of the ground during an earthquake.  Ground motion is expressed as peak ground acceleration (PGA, peak change in speed of ground surface horizontal motion during an earthquake).  PGA is expressed as a percent of gravity or “g”.

Earthquakes are typically described in terms of magnitude and intensity.  The traditional measurement of amplitude of the seismic wave through the assignment of a single number to quantify the amount of seismic energy released by an earthquake is the Richter scale.  The intensity of how strong the shock was felt at a particular location is the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale.  The scale quantifies the effects of an earthquake on the Earth’s surface, humans, objects of nature and man-made structures.  The table below is a combined earthquake magnitude and intensity comparison from the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquake Magnitude / Intensity Comparison

PGA (% g)Magnitude (Richter)INTENSITY (MMI) & LABELMMI DESCRIPTION
< 0.171.0 – 3.0I.  InstrumentalI. Not felt by many people unless in favorable conditions.
0.17 – 1.43.0 – 3.9II. – III.

Feeble/Slight

II. Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on building upper floors.

III. Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings. Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake.  Standing motorcars may rock slightly.  Vibrations similar to the passing of a truck.

1.4 – 9.24.0 – 4.9IV. – V.

Moderate/Rather Strong

IV. Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the day.  At night, some awakened. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound.  Sensation like heavy truck striking building.  Parked cars rock noticeably.

V. Felt by nearly everyone: many awakened. Some dishes, windows broken. Unstable objects overturned.  Pendulum clocks may stop.

9.2 – 345.0 – 5.9VI – VII

Strong/Very Strong

VI. Felt by all. Some heavy furniture moved. Damage slight.

VII. Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built of badly designed structures; some chimneys broken.

34 – 1246.0 – 6.9VIII – IX

Destructive/Ruinous

VIII. Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse.  Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, and walls. Heavy furniture overturned.

IX. Damage considerable in specially designed structures; well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.

> 1247.0 and higherX, XI and XII

Disastrous/Very Disastrous/

Catastrophic

X. Some well-built wooden structures destroyed; most masonry and frame structures destroyed with foundations. Rails bent.

XI. Few if any (masonry) structures remain standing. Bridges destroyed.

XII. Damage total. Line of sight & level distorted. Objects thrown in the air.

Source: USGS, Earthquake Hazards Program

LANDSLIDE

Landslide is a geologic phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfall, deep failure of slopes, and shallow debris flows.  Although gravity is the primary force for a landslide to occur, there are typically other contributing factors.  A change in the stability of a slope can be caused by a number of factors, acting together or alone. Natural causes of landslides include:

  • groundwater pressure acting to destabilize the slope
  • loss or absence of vegetation, root structure, soil structure
  • erosion or undercutting by river or ocean waves
  • heavy rain or snowmelt
  • freeze/thaw cycles
  • earthquakes
  • volcanic eruptions

Landslides can also be caused or aggravated by human activities including the following:

  • vibrations from machinery or traffic
  • blasting
  • earthwork which alters the shape of a slope, or imposes new loads on an existing slope
  • deforestation, cultivation, and road construction
  • removal of deep-rooted vegetation that binds colluvium to bedrock
  • activities which increase or concentrate amount of water infiltration into soil.

As experienced by the public, the most common impacts of landslides are roadway blockage, and less frequent damage to homes and structures.  Categories of impacts include threat to public safety, economic impacts created by traffic delays and detours; and environmental impacts related to increased sediment pollution of waterways.  Landslides usually occur with little or no warning and therefore during contributing conditions such as heavy rainfall in steep areas, curtailment of land altering activities should be considered.

TORNADO

The National Weather Service defines a tornado as a “violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground.” Tornados are the most violent of all atmospheric storms and are capable of tremendous destruction. Wind speeds can exceed 250 mph, and damage paths can be more than one mile wide and 50 miles long. In an average year, more than 900 tornados are reported in the United States, resulting in approximately 80 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.

Although tornados are documented on every continent, they occur most frequently in the central U.S. east of the continental divide. Atmospheric and topographic conditions cause warm and cold air masses to meet in the center of the country, creating unstable, fast moving air at high pressure that can cause a tornado to form. Tornados occur most frequently from April to June. While most tornados occur between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m., a tornado can occur at any time of day.

Prior to 2007, tornado intensity was measured by the Fujita (F) scale shown below.

FUJITA SCALEWIND ESTIMATE (MPH)TYPICAL DAMAGE
F0< 73Light damage. Some damage to chimneys; branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees pushed over; sign boards damaged.
F173-112Moderate damage. Peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos blown off roads.
F2113-157Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars overturned; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground.
F3158-206Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown.
F4207-260Devastating damage. Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.
F5261-318Incredible damage. Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters (109 yards); trees debarked; incredible phenomena.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center

An updated and revised version of the Fujita scale is the Enhanced Fujita scale. Both scales are sets of wind estimates (not measurements) based on damage. The new scale provides more damage indicators and associated degrees of damage, allowing for more detailed analysis and thus better correlation between damage and wind speed. It is also more precise because it takes into account the materials affected and the construction of structures damaged by a tornado.

Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF)

ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE (EF)EF WIND ESTIMATE (MPH)
EF065-85
EF186-110
EF2111-135
EF3136-165
EF4166-200
EF5Over 200

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center

DROUGHT

As defined by the NOAA Weather Service, drought is defined is “a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrologic imbalance in the affected area.”  More simply, a drought is a period of unusually persistent dry weather lasting long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area.

Short term effects of drought include excessively dry soil causing plants stress and crop failure.  When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months, or years; the following may occur: the flow of streams and rivers declines; water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall; the water table drops, i.e. the depth to reach groundwater in water wells increases.

Drought is a unique type of disaster because it is not a discreet event but rather is the cumulative result of a persistent period of below average precipitation.  In the continental U.S. drought occurrence generally does not require evacuation nor does it constitute an immediate threat to life or property.  The effects of drought may not be noticed immediately but only become apparent after weeks or months.  The effect to the water table may take up to a year or more to be realized.

The most common impacts include economic hardship due to lost revenue from crops or loss of livestock.  Non-irrigated croplands are most susceptible to moisture shortages.  Grazing land and irrigated agricultural lands are not impacted quickly as the non-irrigated, cultivated acreage, but their yields can also be greatly reduced.  Reductions in yields due to moisture shortages are often aggravated by wind-induced soil erosion.

In periods of severe drought, grazing land can destroy the economic potential of the livestock industry wildlife habitat in the fire areas.  Under extreme drought conditions, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers can be subject to severe water shortages, greatly restricting their use for municipal water supplies.

WINTER STORMS

Winter storms are characterized by ice accumulation and freezing rain, heavy snowfall, and/or extreme cold and wind chill conditions. Impacts are determined by factors such as the amount and extent of snow or ice, air temperature, wind speed, event duration, day and time. These hazard events typically create disruption of regional systems such as public utilities, telecommunications, and transportation routes.
An ice storm is used to describe occasions when ice accumulations damage trees, above ground utility lines, and affect travel surfaces. Heavy snowfall can cause extended periods of travel disruption and damage structures. Exposure to extreme cold and wind chill associated with winter storms can be life-threatening, and pipes can freeze or burst.

In 2001, the National Weather Service implemented an updated Wind Chill Temperature index. This index was developed to describe the relative discomfort/danger resulting from the combination of wind and temperature. Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature.

Figure 3-35 National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart

Winter Storm | Wind Chill Hazard