As Hurricane Isaac was making its way toward the Gulf Coast, the Energy Department was preparing for its role as the focal point for energy response and restoration efforts, monitoring energy infrastructure and coordinating responses across the federal community, state and local governments, and industry.
DOE began issuing Situation Reports on Monday to provide details on the storm’s impact, and the recovery and restoration activities being undertaken. Additional Situation Reports will be issued online as additional developments occur.
DOE emergency responders are now staffing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) field coordination centers in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and the Mississippi Emergency Operations Center, as well as at the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC. DOE Emergency responders facilitate clear and consistent communication with other responders, provide subject matter expertise to help with restoration, and assist the Federal government in restoration efforts. We are in close communication with our Federal partners, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Defense, Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state agencies and energy companies affected by the storm.
The energy sector, including utilities, have prepared for Hurricane Isaac by bringing in additional crews, preparing equipment for emergency restoration work, and ensuring that additional supplies, such as utility poles, are on hand to respond and restore service as quickly and safely as possible should outages occur. In Louisiana, expected to be the hardest hit area of the storm, there are more than 6,000 electricity workers already on standby and ready to deploy for energy restoration efforts once the storm passes. Advanced sensing and monitoring technologies recently deployed by many companies can help reduce restoration time by detecting the location and extent of the damage, and isolating the problem to keep as much of the electric grid as possible operating during an emergency. A portion of the region’s oil and gas production operations, including offshore oil rigs and oil refineries, in the region were also taken offline as a precaution in preparation for the storm.
As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and FEMA have emphasized, it is crucial to be ready before a storm approaches and be aware that the hazards of hurricanes can include storm surges, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. The FEMA website also offers practical guidance on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Most importantly, be sure to listen to the direction of local authorities, and follow local updates – If local officials give the order to evacuate, do so immediately along your approved evacuation route.