By Charlie Henry, Office of Response and Restoration Disaster Preparedness Program
A long time ago, I stood beside my grandfather outside of his house, looking toward the southeast at a very dark sky. We were 200 miles from where Hurricane Camille was making landfall in Mississippi—the second-most intense Atlantic tropical cyclone on record.
By Alyssa Gray, Office of Response and Restoration
At NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, we respond to oil spills both big and small — from the millions of barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to spills of a few barrels released from minor vessel accidents that happen every month. But oil is entering America’s coasts and waterways on a daily basis through another means of pollution — oil runoff.
By Savannah Turner, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
While warmer weather motivates us to spend more time outdoors, it also gives rise to ideal atmospheric conditions that generate thunderstorms and lightning. So, even though the 2020 hurricane season remains in the forefront, the Disaster Preparedness Program also encourages you to remain cognizant of additional seasonal hazards, such as lightning.
We generally think of oil being accidentally spilled, but there are situations when oil might be intentionally spilled.
Historically, ships at sea have sometimes intentionally dumped some of their cargo to save the ship and perhaps prevent a complete loss. However, this is a thorny area of maritime and environmental law, made even more complex by the engineering stresses on a foundering vessel and the political dynamics underlying a decision to intentionally dump oil.
Every month our Emergency Response Division provides scientific expertise and services to the U.S. Coast Guard on everything from running oil spill trajectories to model where the spill may spread, to possible effects on wildlife and fisheries and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment. This month OR&R responded to 20 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.
By Charles Grisafi, Office of Response and Restoration Disaster Preparedness Program
Wildfires can happen anywhere and anytime, as we’ve seen with recent wildfires across the country, from the Florida Everglades to the coast of California. A wildfire is an unplanned fire often caused by humans or lightning, that starts to burn in a natural area, with risk increasing in periods of little rain and high winds. Though the Office of Response and Restoration does not respond to wildfires, it’s critical that both OR&R and the National Ocean Service are prepared for the threats that wildfires can pose to our mission critical operations and personnel.