Los Angeles, CA Earthquake

In response to a request for information regarding the impact of an earthquake affecting Los Angeles (LA), California (CA), McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) selected and geospatially referenced key infrastructure for the wider conurbation of LA. This brief seeks to detail key infrastructure; produce pre-catastrophic event assessments; highlight known risk from secondary events such as tsunamis’ and landslides and provide information, recommendations and impact statements via an online interactive geospatial portal.

The USA’s second most populous city conurbation to New York, the wider LA city basin consists of some 88 cities and numerous counties and districts.  Flanked by the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, the Santa Monica Mountains to the east and undulating land to the south, the LA basin covers an area some 45 miles (N-S) by 30 miles (E-W) extending to the Pacific Ocean. The LA basin sits atop of the leading edge of the Pacific Plate, where it abuts some 50 miles east against the North American Plate. This transformation fault is well known as the San Andreas Fault.

Infrastructure

Through open source research and geospatial analysis MIS analysts selected the following key infrastructure for inclusion in the McKenzie Intelligence for Lloyd’s of London project:


Utilities Infrastructure

  • Scattergood Thermal Power Station
  • Hyperion Water Treatment Facility

Public Infrastructure

  • Los Angeles County (LAC) and University of Southern California (USC) Hospital
  • Multi-Freeway Junction (Routes 5, 10, 60 and 101)

Transportation Infrastructure

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Port of Long Beach (POLB)

Commercial Infrastructure

  • US Bank Tower
  • Down Town LA

Utilities Infrastructure

As LA experienced a partial black out lasting several hours immediately after the last major earthquake in 1994, Scattergood Natural Gas Thermal Power Station was selected for inclusion within the project. Scattergood has recently undergone a series of improvement works (2013-15) and will continue to be upgraded, along with other thermal power stations as part of a wider program expected to be completed by 2024.  Adjacent to Scattergood, the large Hyperion Water Treatment Facility has also recently undergone a period of upgrade and environmental work. The facility processes waste water to provide clean water, agricultural fertilizer products and bio-gas which is piped directly to Scattergood.  

Both sites occupy a coastal position. The majority of the facilities across both sites are situated on the same body of raised land (15m to 30m above mean sea level (AMSL)) and as such the risk from tsunami is assessed as minimal. However, both sites rely on the proximity of the ocean to operate and each has elements that are highly likely to be overwhelmed by fast running tsunami water: namely the Scattergood cooling water intake facility and the Hyperion waste water outlet pipe. It is entirely possible damage to these elements would impact on the overall operation of the facility; especially the power station.

Neither site is at direct risk from Liquefaction; however, as the entire beach is at risk of liquefaction, again damage is highly likely to the beach facing elements of the cooling water intake and waste water pipe. There is a direct risk from post earthquake landslides to both sites where the land drops in height from 30m AMSL to 10-15m AMSL on the landward side of the facilities. It is assessed that this risk was incorporated within the planning phase of the recent (and ongoing) improvement works, with these areas remaining planted scrub land.  


Public Infrastructure

Two areas of public infrastructure were selected for this project: the LAC and USC Hospital, and a large multi-freeway junction where four main highways intersect.  Constructed in the early 2000s’ to replace the former LAC and USC hospital destroyed by the 1994  Northridge earthquake the LAC and USC complex, is located at approximately 100m AMSL and some 13 miles inland. As such this modern, large multi tower multi-story hospital complex is not under any risk from tsunamis’. Furthermore, although the former hospital was destroyed on the same site, data suggests that this site is not under threat from either liquefaction or landslides although these threat surround the site.

Located central to LA, the two to ten lane multi-freeway junction where Interstate (I) 5 and I-10, US Highway 101 and State Highway 60 meet and then converge across all cardinal directions poses significant risk to vehicular transportation and rail transportation should it be damaged. At least 70 bridges, overpasses and underpasses of which a significant portion are triple and quadruple height enables vehicular traffic to transit between the freeways and over rail tracks and flood water channels. With a height of 70 AMSL, the junction is not at risk from tsunamis, nor liquefaction, although these freeways are at limited risk from landslides along the banked sections. This risk has been mitigated though the use of banked gravel and scrubland planting.  


Transportation Infrastructure

The centre for global commerce on the US west coast, LA has a well developed international air and sea transportation infrastructure. Located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean in west LA, LAX international airport is surrounded by commerce, industry and residential properties on all sides except the west. Although with the majority of the installation is located below 50 AMSL, LAX is not at risk from tsunami due to its’ distance (700m) from the ocean and is further protected by a body of higher land (100m AMSL) to the west. Furthermore, data suggests LAX is not at risk from either liquefaction or landslides across the installation.

Conversely, the large bulk, container, oil/gas, vehicle import, POLB installation is at significant risk from secondary earthquake associated hazards as well as earthquake. The POLB installation occupies a body of low lying land and man-made quays varying in height between 10m – 30m AMSL. As such tsunamis and/or liquefaction pose the greatest threats to the installation and these threats carry on beyond the installation border and into LA’s industrial hinterland, to include an oil refinery. The threat from landslides is minimal due to changes in height and significant man made nature of the installation.     


Commercial Infrastructure

Downtown LA’s high density commercial, residential and public high rise towers, to include the tallest building in LA, the US Bank Tower, and several large public event arenas are not under direct threat from tsunamis due to their distance inland.  The area (approx 10-15%) is under a limited threat from both the effects of liquefaction and landslide. The exact nature of how these effects would impact the area cannot be mapped with imagery alone, and without knowing the nature of the foundations. That said, it remains highly likely that these building have been constructed in withstand a tolerance of earthquake with little or no structural damage.      

Introduction to MIS_P with Stuart Ray CTO IMAGERY

QUICK LOOK

SYNOPSIS

The Quick Look reporting encompasses immediate reporting on the following locations of interest:

Utilities Infrastructure
Scattergood Thermal Power Station
Hyperion Water Treatment Facility

Public Infrastructure
Los Angeles County (LAC) and University of Southern California (USC) Hospital
Multi-Freeway Junction (Routes 5, 10, 60 and 101)

Transportation Infrastructure
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Port of Long Beach (POLB)

Commercial Infrastructure
US Bank Tower
Down Town LA

The details shown will be tasked, analysed & collated from handheld, drone and satellite imagery data.  MIS maintains a current register of Drone providers on its areas of Intelligence Interest.  Each report will be written with imagery and built upon into the Long Look reports as the situation matures. Turn around time will be as quickly as possible via our 24hr manned Bevis Marks, London operations room.

Port of Long Beach (POLB) Los Angeles

Introduction

Situated directly on the western Pacific coast, the Port of Long Beach (POLB) is surrounded by heavy and medium industrial complexes to all non ocean sides. POLB was not operationally affected by the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake of 1994. Local press reports from 1994 acknowledge minor damage across sections of POLB and neighbouring port installations and marinas. However, commercial shipping was not affected. Distribution from the port was affected as rail and road damage impacted on the onward transportation of containers and bulk freight.

DETAILS

Port of Long Beach (POLB)

Of globally significance, POLB is the second busiest port in the US and a vital element for the US Asian trade route. A large installation with numerous miles of direct water front, POLB services nearly 5000 ships per year, and caters for bulk, container, oil/gas, vehicular and general freight. A comprehensive road and rail network enables the rapid flow of freight to and from the POLB installation whilst incorporating secure short and medium term ‘vaulted’ storage facilities.

ASSESSMENT

Tsunami

The large bulk, container, oil/gas, vehicle import, POLB installation is at significant risk from secondary earthquake associated hazards after a major earthquake. Occupying a body of very low lying land with man-made quays/jetties/piers averaging in height between 5m-10m above mean sea level (AMSL) means POLB is at significant risk from tsunami. Furthermore, the temporary storage nature of vehicles, containers and palletised freight atop quays/jetties/piers adds further risk of significant damage should these be carried by the fast flowing tsunami waters into the surrounding low lying industrial hinterland.

Liquefaction

Liquefaction poses the second greatest threat to the installation after tsunami with the whole installation assessed by Californian authorities as potentially under threat.

Landslide

The threat from landslides to POLB is minimal due to the lack of change of height and significant man made nature of the installation.

RECOMMENDATION

MIS recommend commissioning a very high resolution imagery collect and/or UAV over flight within the 12-24 hours of any incident. This will enable MIS to fuse historic and recent imagery with open source information and undertake change detection imagery comparisons to provide follow on reporting.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Introduction

Situated on the western Pacific coast, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is surrounded by commerce, industry and residential properties to all sides expect the west. LAX was closed to all air traffic for several hours as a precaution following the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake of 1994. After two hours LAX reopened to all air traffic. Of note, LAX suffered only very light damage to the installations building infrastructure and equipment with all key infrastructure remaining serviceable and enabling continued air operations.

DETAILS

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Regionally and globally important, LAX handles approximately 1500-1750 international, domestic and military aircraft operations a day across its four runways. It carries approximately 75 million passengers and numerous tonnes of freight a year. Situated across a large flat relatively low lying site at only 30m to 50m above mean sea level (AMSL), LAX operates over ten public, private and military terminals with the four runways. LAX has a significant commercial footprint both airside and non-airside to include, freight distribution, car rental, car parks and retail outlets. The airport is serviced by its own police department and medical facility.

ASSESSMENT

Tsunami

Despite the low-lying nature of the airport and component parts, LAX is not under direct threat from tsunami. This is due to the majority of the installation occupying land between 30m to 50m AMSL. Of even greater significance, the airport is efficiently protected by a bank of higher land (50m AMSL) that acts as a barrier between the runway thresholds and the shoreline.

Liquefaction & Landslide

Federal data indicates that land liquefaction does not pose a direct or indirect threat to any element of the LAX facility or component parts within. The threat of natural landslide is negligible due to the relatively flat and gentle sloping undulating nature of the installation. Any man made bank or road cutting could be at risk from limited landslide, but any damage caused is likely to be minimal and should not affect flight operations.

RECOMMENDATION

MIS recommend commissioning a very high resolution imagery collect and/or UAV over flight within the 12-24 hours of any incident. This will enable MIS to fuse historic and recent imagery with open source information and undertake change detection imagery comparisons to provide follow on reporting.

Pomona Freeway (Fwy), Santa Monica (Fwy), Santa Ana (Fwy) & Golden State (Fwy Junction)

Introduction

The Northridge earthquake of 1994 severely impacted Los Angeles (LA) arterial vehicular transportation systems. Levels of structural damage ranged from entire sections of freeway collapsing or being twisted, to individual freeway overpasses and bridges becoming structurally unserviceable.

DETAILS

Pomona Fwy (Highway-60), Santa Monica Fwy (Interstate-10), Santa Ana Fwy (US Highway-101) and Golden Gate Fwy (Interstate-5) Junction Central to the LA basin and adjacent to downtown LA, major California arterial routes (I-5 and I-10, US Highway 101 and State Highway 60) converge at a large complex junction. The junction is significant in that it enables traffic to move across the LA basin in all cardinal ndirections. Vehicular traffic passes through the junction via a series of 2 to 10 lane freeways using over passes, underpasses, bridges, slip roads and standard ‘US stop’ junctions. A significant portion of the junction uses changes in height, via raised overpasses, lowered underpasses and bridges to enable the vehicles to change direction. A large number of the overpass and underpass sections consist of triple or quadruple road levels atop of each other.

ASSESSMENT

Tsunami

With an average height of 70m above mean sea level and approximately 15 miles inland, this large junction is not deemed to be at direct risk from tsunami following an earthquake. The junction is also not at risk of flooding caused by tsunami inundation of known mapped fault lines.

Liquefaction

The junction is not at direct risk due to the affects of liquefaction. However, all routes that pass through this junction are affected to some extent as they cross the LA basin. The nearest area where data suggests the land is vulnerable to liquefaction is just over a mile to the north where the I-5 and USH-101 converge prior to entering the junction.

Landslide

The most significant risk for this vital section of infrastructure is from landslide. There are at least five separate areas identified as posing significant risk. All of these areas contain rapid height changes and steep slopes. These areas will mostly affect the I-10 and USH-101 where they traverse in a north-south direction. Furthermore, due to the changes in terrain and multi-level flyovers and overpasses, localised minor landslides cannot be ruled out along the four arterial routes where banking and cuttings have created man-made changes in terrain height. Zones of large gravel and dense scrub vegetation have been incorporated at high risk points to help bind the underlying earth together.

Los Angeles County (LAC) & University of Southern California (USC) Hospital

Introduction

The last major earthquake (the 1994 Northridge earthquake) to impact Los Angeles (LA) caused significant structural damage to the former Los Angeles County (LAC) and University of Southern California (USC) Hospital. The level of damage rendered the installation structurally severely damaged. This effectively rendered the the LAC and USC Hospital destroyed.

Beyond economic repair, the former LAC and USC Hospital was demolished after the earthquake and replaced with a new modern facility. This rebuild was phased and built during the late 1990s’ and early 2000s’.

DETAILS

Los Angeles County (LAC) and University of Southern California (USC) Hospital Central to the LA basin and approximately 15 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean coast, the LAC and USC hospital is situated atop an area of higher ground; approximately 100m above mean sea level. This modern, large multi-tower medium and high rise multi-story hospital complex is formed by a series of square and rectangular towers connected at ground and first floor levels. It is almost certain that this modern installation was constructed incorporating those lessons identified following the 1994 earthquake.

ASSESSMENT

Tsunami

The LAC and USC Hospital is not under any direct risk from tsunami, given both its distance from the shoreline and elevation. To counter any loss of public infrastructure through tsunami, for example mainline electricity power, it is almost certain that a backup power plan incorporates not only the paralleling of main line power supplies, but incorporates installation standby/emergency generator power.

Liquefaction

Federal data indicates that land liquefaction does not pose a direct threat to the LAC and USC Hospital. This assessment is reinforced following a review of historic imagery, indicating the incorporation of a significant quantity of aggregates across the demolished vacant hospital site, prior to the rebuild. However a liquefaction zone encircles the installation. The developed land 500m to the south and abutting the installation to the west, poses the closest risk from the affects of liquefaction to the hospital. Of note, all major arterial routes that service the hospital are within these liquefaction zones and are highly likely to be affected. This in turn is likely to impact on transportation lines of communication to and from the site.

Landslide

There is no direct risk of major landslide within 500m of any LAC and USC Hospital building. However, localised minor landslides cannot be ruled out along the arterial routes where banking or formed cuttings have been used during the construction phase. In both cases, zones of large sized gravel and dense scrub vegetation planting has been used to help bind the underlying earth together.

RECOMMENDATION

MIS recommend commissioning a very high resolution imagery collect and/or UAV over flight within 12-24 hours of any event. This will enable MIS to fuse historic and recent imagery with open source information and undertake change detection imagery comparisons to provide follow on reporting.

Scattergood Power Station & Hyperion Water Treatment Installation Los Angeles

Introduction

The Northridge earthquake of 1994 was the last major earthquake to impact Los Angeles (LA) and the wider LA basin’s electricity and water infrastructures. This earthquake caused widespread power blackouts and loss of water pumping/treatment facilities lasting between several hours to months before the majority of service was reinstated. Not only were water treatment facilities, including large treatment facilities, impacted through loss of mainline power, but also through even the lightest structural damage rendering some the facilities functionally unserviceable.

DETAILS

Area in General

Located on the Pacific Ocean coast, approximately 13 miles south-west of downtown LA, the Scattergood Natural Gas Thermal Power Station and Hyperion Water Treatment facility are key elements of infrastructure that service the wider LA basin. Since the turn of the century, both facilities have undergone a programme of significant improvement and environmental upgrade work. The programme of work is scheduled to continue until 2024.

Scattergood Power Station

The Scattergood Thermal Power Station generates electricity primarily through the use of natural gas. However, it is also supplemented by bio-gas piped directly from the co-located Hyperion Water Treatment facility. The self-contained facility consists of a trio of generating units, a pair of stacks, a forced draft cooling facility, switching (transformer) yard, limited fuel storage tanks and support/administration buildings. Of note the installation’s water intake facility is separate from the main installation and located on lower ground immediately above the normal high tide mark.

Hyperion Water Treatment Facility

The co-located Hyperion Water Treatment Installation covers an area approximately five times larger than that of Scattergood. The recently upgraded facility enables the water and sludge treatment by-products of bio-gas and fertilizer to be removed from the facility. The bio-
gas is removed by pipe, whereas the fertilizer is removed by large goods vehicles. The majority of the self contained facility’s land is taken over by primary and secondary treatment tanks, ponds and separators. Around the edge of the site the remainder of the infrastructure includes an oxygen plant, the bio-gas plant, pump stations, and support/administration buildings.

ASSESSMENT

Tsunami

Both sites occupy a relatively low lying coastal position. The majority of the facilities across both sites are situated on the same body of raised land, approximately 15m to 30m above mean sea level (AMSL). As such the risk of structural damage from a tsunami following an earthquake is assessed as minimal due to their position on higher terrain. However, both sites rely on the proximity of the ocean to functionally operate and each has elements that are highly likely to be overwhelmed by fast running tsunami water; namely the Scattergood cooling water intake facility and the Hyperion waste water outlet pipe. It is entirely possible that both structural and functional damage to these elements would impact on the overall operations of either facility, but especially the power station due to the loss of cooling water.

Liquefaction

Neither installation is at direct risk from Liquefaction. However, as the entire beach is at risk of liquefaction, again structural damage is highly likely to the beach facing elements of the cooling water intake and waste water pipe. This in turn is likely to impact on the overall operational capacity of either installation. As with tsunami damage, the power station is especially susceptible.

Landslide

There is a direct risk from post earthquake landslides to both installations where the body of high land drops rapidly in height from 30m AMSL to 10-15m AMSL on the landward side of the facilities. It is assessed that this risk was incorporated within the planning phase of the recent and on-going improvement works. Given the high risk of seismic activity in this region, these areas are likely to have been stabilised during the improvement works.

RECOMMENDATION

MIS recommend commissioning a very high resolution imagery collect and/or UAV over flight within the 12-24 hours of any incident. This will enable MIS to fuse historic and recent imagery with open source information and undertake change detection imagery comparisons to provide follow on reporting.

Commercial District Downtown Los Angeles (LA)

Introduction

The last major earthquake (the 1994 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake) to impact Los Angeles (LA) caused significant structural damage across the LA Basin. However the majority of the low, medium and high rise towers within the downtown LA district survived.

Although light structural damage was noted, a comprehensive scheme of retrofitting and improvement work was conducted using lessons identified following the earthquake.

DETAILS

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown LA’s high density commercial, residential and public high rise towers and several large public event arenas are located central to the LA basin and approximately 15miles from the shoreline. This includes the tallest building in LA; the US Bank Tower. Containing the historic core of LA, this area is also home to approximately 50,000 people and is LA and California’s central business district as well as being the west coast of North Americas’ major economic and financial hub.

ASSESSMENT

Tsunami

Downtown LA is not under direct threat from tsunami due to a height above mean sea level of between 80m to 100m and its distance from the shoreline. Furthermore, despite known mapped fault lines running less than a mile from this location, the area is not at risk from secondary flooding from Tsunami inundation of the fault, again due to distance inland and raised elevation.

Liquefaction

California’s’ federal emergency statistical data suggests approximately 10-15% of the northern section of Downtown LA is under direct threat from the affects of liquefaction during an earthquake. The exact nature of how these effects would impact this area cannot be mapped with imagery alone. It is assessed that this known and publicly documented threat was addressed following the Northridge Earthquake when a series of retrofitting works to steel framed medium and high-rise tower blocks occurred. It remains highly likely that data identified following the 1994 major earthquake was fully incorporated within building codes/control and that these high rise buildings have been constructed, or retrofitted to withstand a tolerance of earthquakes with minimal structural damage and loss of life.

Landslide

Approximately 10% of the district is also under threat from landslide. However, as the elevation change is very minor +/- 40m, it is assessed that landslides will not impact the majority of the buildings and arenas. Nevertheless, landslides may impact the ‘open spaces’ and possibly low rise historical and/or low rise older residential buildings.

RECOMMENDATION

MIS recommend commissioning a very high resolution imagery collect and/or UAV over flight within the first 12-24 hours of any event. This will enable MIS to fuse historic and recent imagery with open source information and undertake change detection imagery comparisons to provide follow on reporting.

LONG LOOK

SYNOPSIS

In the wake of a sizeable event, such as a huge earthquake in the Los Angeles region, there will undoubtedly be confusion and chaos for a protracted period.  Using freshly collected imagery, corroborated with research of social media, news and technical sources, the MIS analysts will be able to circumvent much of the confusing reporting to gain an in-depth understanding of the situation on the ground.  An event on this scale would warrant continued collection from remote sources and thus provide MIS with constant and regular material with which to analyse.   The example displayed in this section, demonstrates the initial response, 12-24 hours after a fictitious magnitude 8.0 earthquake in the summer of 2017 and its effect on Los Angeles International Airport.  It would be the first of a series of reports detailing the exact situation on the ground.  Subsequent reporting would develop situational awareness of the emerging crisis.  Reporting covers specific client directed features, focusing on the physical impact to the feature and would include an assessment on the wider implications of the damage.

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Earthquake Long Look

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Introduction

This report seeks to address key findings in response to the 8.0 Magnitude earthquake and ongoing aftershocks emanating from the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. With a reported earthquake epicentre in the foothills of the Santa Monica Hills, a mere 25 miles from Downtown Los Angeles (LA) and approximately 50 miles north-east of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), state of emergency protocols are extant across the wider LA basin. Associated Press reporting and social media feeds continue to confirm initial assessments of widespread light damage to complete destruction across the LA Basin and into the Southern Californian hinterland. Open source information from the neighbouring states of Nevada and Arizona confirm minimal to light damage has occurred to structures outside California.

DETAILS

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Immediately preceding the earthquake, LAX was closed as a precaution to all incoming and outgoing civil and military air traffic for a period of four hours. During this period all incoming international aircraft were diverted to the regional international transportation hubs of Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) and Phoenix (Arizona) or diverted to smaller international airports in Nevada,

Utah and Arizona. All incoming domestic flights were cancelled with flights in the air diverted. All outgoing domestic and international flights were suspended.

Localised light damage was caused across the whole LAX facility, impacting both airside and non-airside facilities. Of note, damage to a raised/elevated section of LAX’s installation road system has significantly impacted vehicular traffic to and from LAX. LAX is assessed to be operating at less than 50% pre-earthquake capacity at this time.

ASSESSMENT

LAX suffered damage during the earthquake, affecting both air and ground operations as well as inflicting structural damage to buildings across the facility. The majority of the damage is assessed to have been caused directly by the earthquake and aftershocks, with only limited damage caused by the secondary earthquake effects. All of these elements will be dealt with in sub paragraphs below.

Earthquake

Post earthquake imagery highlights light to medium level structural damage caused by the large magnitude impacting on LAX’s ability to functionally operate for air and ground operations.

Ground Operations – Imagery highlights structural damage to a 50m long two-lane section of elevated four-lane ground transportation concourse; World Way. Imagery indicates that at least two spans of the elevated road have dropped onto the ground level road below.

These sections most likely collapsed due to significant damage to their shared supporting piers and columns. Approximately 90% of the dropped concrete road section has remained intact for both concrete span sections. Construction activity, with at least three heavy lift machines, was observed in this area on the imagery.

Although civilian vehicles are present on the remainder of the damaged road surrounding the collapsed section, the vast majority of World Way remains closed with a temporary road cordon formed by LAX police, service vehicles and barriers preventing vehicular access to structurally damaged areas. It is likely that all civilian vehicles observed within this cordon are damaged or were abandoned during the earthquake.

Large swathes of elevated roadways appear to remain cordoned off on the post earthquake imagery. Service vehicles and structural teams were observed in the vicinity of the majority of cordoned off sections. It is assessed once structural integrity of each section is established, the individual road sections will be re-opened or cordons set in place to enable traffic to flow around these areas. LAX police patrol vehicles and temporary barriers appear to channel vehicular traffic. The majority of traffic consists of LAX buses, suggesting a restriction on private traffic to and from LAX. Further credence of this assessment is added by the increased volume in private vehicles in long term car park areas, police cordons and significantly raised number of buses in the LAX metro station.

Air Operations – Open source media and social reporting confirms that LAX has re-established air operations, albeit at a reduced level since the earthquake, with many domestic flights cancelled. Imagery highlights damage to two key elements airside, namely the FedEx freight facility and LAX airside equipment open storage yard and more importantly to the threshold of runway 06L/24R.

The FedEx freight distribution facility has suffered very minor damage to at least one steel framed building, with several panels missing, but the vast majority of the damage is to the palletised freight and open storage area. Imagery indicates that the shock force of the earthquake has ruptured approximately 30% of the concrete apron, which in turn has lead to the upturning of the freight pallets from their transportation dollies. It appears that approximately 35% of this facility is structurally damaged. Nevertheless, the overall facility remains functionally operational. At least two military transportation aircraft where located on the FedEx parking apron.

Earthquake shock damage has ruptured the threshold and a 50 m x 60 m section of runway one of the four runways, 06L/24R, rendering the runway less than 5% structurally damaged, but functionally 100% unserviceable at this time. Imagery confirms associated press reporting that the runway is under repair with heavy plant equipment and construction vehicles in place. Of note, the serviceable portion of 06L/24R is being utilised as a parking apron by several USAF and/or National Guard military helicopters and transport aircraft. Furthermore, imagery confirms that co-located runway 06R/24L is non-operational for civilian aircraft and is currently being used solely by the military and emergency services.

Tsunami

Despite a reported four to five metre high tsunami, low lying LAX and its main four runways and terminal infrastructure located at 37m – 39m above mean sea level (AMSL) remained protected from tsunami flood waters. This was largely due to the body of higher terrain to the west of the airport perimeter. This body of 80m (AMSL) high dense scrubland separating LAX from the Pacific Ocean acted as both a natural barrier to the water and enabled the flood waters to disperse and lose kinetic power as tsunami flood water soaked into the scrubland barrier.

Liquefaction

Californian federal data indicated that land liquefaction did not pose a direct or indirect threat to any element of the LAX installation or any facilities within. This data was confirmed following the earthquake as no structural or functional damage to either air operations or ground movement as a result of the effects of liquefaction was sustained.

Landslide

Federal data indicated that the threat of landslide did not pose a direct or indirect threat to any element of the LAX installation or any facilities within. This data proved to be correct. However, a series of landslides struck on the immediate western perimeter of LAX, where the scrubland separates the airport from the shoreline. It remains undetermined if these landslides were triggered directly by the earthquake or aftershock, the effect of the tsunami or a combination of all events.

Ground Operations – Imagery shows the landslide covers an area approximately 900m x 60m with debris spreading partially over a four lane LAX perimeter road, Pershing Drive. The earthen debris renders the southbound two lanes of Pershing Drive unserviceable to all traffic.

However, road surface damage cannot be ascertained until the earthen debris is removed. The northbound lanes appear fully serviceable with the carriageway assessed as fully functional and structurally intact. Consequentially, the road has a reduced operational capacity of 50% at this time.

Air Operations – Imagery indicates that a LAX navigation aid (Very High Frequency Omni Directional Radio Range (VOR)) is less than 20m from an area of landslide. Change detection imagery techniques suggest that the VOR remains completely undamaged. LAX associated service/repair vehicles, in addition to heavy earth clearing equipment, were noted on the post earthquake imagery within the vicinity of the VOR. This observed activity is most likely LAX engineering teams confirming the continued operational status of the VOR. The fully operational status of the VOR with no structural damage was further confirmed in associated press reporting by LAX representatives and the recommencement of air operations.

RECOMMENDATION

MIS recommend commissioning very high resolution imagery collections and/or UAV over flight every 24 hours. This will enable MIS to fuse historic and recent imagery with open source information and undertake change detection imagery comparisons to provide follow on reporting.

DEEP LOOK

SYNOPSIS

The area of the Port of Long Beach has been chosen as it represents a real risk from significant impact from liquefaction and tsunami.  This Deep Look product displays a daily count of car stock waiting to be moved off shore into supply chains.  If a catastrophic event took place we would have a near immediate ability to determine expected loss.  Data can be viewed on line in either a graphic or as a downloadable file.

*this data set is hypothetical

Hurricane Matthew – Overview

Hurricane Matthew – Long Look reports

Charleston - South Carolina - Long Look
Hurricane Matthew - Charleston

Long Look Report Hurricane Matthew and Storm Surge Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 26 October 2016


Introduction

On 8 October 2016, Category One (1) Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina. Heavy bands of rainfall prior to, during and post Matthew caused localised flooding across Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolinas.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels to the city of Charleston, South Carolina. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focussed open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery, dated 15 October 2016, was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Hurricane Matthew made landfall at McCellanville, 50 km north-east of Charleston, South Carolina as a Category One (1) hurricane on 8 October 2016 with 75 mph sustained winds. As the hurricane tracked north-east, the Carolina’s experienced a 24-36 hour period of very heavy rains, strong winds and a coastal storm surge. The storm was then downgraded to a slow moving tropical storm as it moved out of the state to the north-east.

Assessment and Conclusions

It was widely reported in Associated Press, that Charleston suffered widespread flooding due to both the high levels of rainfall and a storm surge proceeding Hurricane Matthew. Very high resolution imagery dated 15 October 2016, a week after the flooding event, highlights how rapidly the flood waters subsided and how quickly the Charleston city authority’s clean up operations were enacted. Of note, no areas of significant flooding were observed on the imagery. Damage assessments are based upon open sourced photo and video map correlation and imagery analysis of satellite image.

Selected Schools

Located over 1.5 km from the coast, post Hurricane imagery is not able to ascertain the level of damage (if any) to the James Simons Elementary School, or able to confirm if the school is once again open for class following the Charleston-wide school closure protocol. No repair work or sediment was observed in or surrounding the school. The school was observed in imagery on a Saturday and as such activity levels surrounding the school were low with no children observed in playgrounds or staff vehicles parked in the school car parks.

Located only 250 m from coastal marshland, the post hurricane imagery is not able to ascertain the level of damage (if any) to the Burke High School or to the co-located Rhett school complex. However, it is highly likely the schools suffered only minimal damage as the Burke High School is assessed to be fully operational and serviceable. It is not possible to fully ascertain the level of damage to Rhett School from imagery alone. Although the imagery was taken on a Saturday, the whole school complex was active with both school buses and privately owned cars parked surrounding the co-located Johnson Hagood American Football Stadium and Burke High School.

No repair work or wind / flood damage was noted across this large school/sports complex with no sediment or post flood debris tide marks observed. The nearest confirmed damage caused by flooding is located 400m west of Burke High School, where areas of pooled water and most likely water logged ground are still present on a 400m sports track. This area directly backs on to the marshland. Therefore it is assessed that both schools and the sports faculties in the area of interest are operational and serviceable with no observable damage. It is further assessed that even low-lying land adjacent to marshland has in the main, drained and is largely free from flood waters.

Zip Code 29403

Open source reporting confirmed widespread flooding due to both the storm surge and heavy rainfall across Charleston, with photographs of 0.2 – 0.5m flooding along Charleston’s main roads widely publicised. For the purpose of this report, imagery of an area 750 x 500m within the coastal zip code 29403, dated one week after the hurricane made landfall, was analysed. Imagery immediately preceding the Hurricane was not available for this location.

One hundred and sixty five points were assessed for flood and/or wind damage in this zip code, and included residential and public properties and areas. Due to the scale and number of properties these were assessed as a single entity. For example a residential home with two outbuildings was classed as a single property. Damage from wind or flying debris was not observed to any property in the zip code from very high resolution imagery.

Properties within this zip code suffered from extensive flooding as indicated in open source reporting immediately after Hurricane Matthew; however, the flood water had subsided at the time of imagery collection with only sediment and debris remaining to indicate the areas of likely flood damage. No floodwater or significant bodies of pooled water were observed in this area. The roads have been cleared of debris and are operational. The assessment on damage level has been made from this sediment and debris field alone and not by tracking actual flood water.

Assessed damage with justification was marked as:

  • Confirmed Sediment, Debris and Flood Damage
  • Probable Flood DamageOf the 165 properties in the zip code area, 114 were assessed as confirmed flood damaged due to either a build up of sediment or a debris field. This assessment does not mean that the whole property is damaged, but only that the ground that the property occupies was flooded. In many cases the coastal facing residential properties appear to be built upon raised stilts/foundations and may be fully protected due to their raised elevation. This is not the case for smaller outbuildings that will have borne the brunt of floodwaters. Imagery confirms that gardens and pool areas have been damaged with debris fields and sediment still present. Sediment and debris fields are clearly visible and present across the public sport complexes and parkland rendering them temporarily non operational.Imagery alone cannot confirm the extent of ground flooding for the remaining properties in the zip code area, hence the probable/possible assessment. This is due to the close proximity of the properties’ rooflines to each other, established treetops and the large size of properties covering the small property lots. It is assessed again that the ground level of these properties were probably/possibly subjected to some floodwater; however, this cannot be confirmed from imagery at this time.
    In summary, this zip code area was quickly cleaned up following the hurricane with the occupants returning to the properties within a week following the hurricane. Although debris fields and sediment are widespread across the zip code, the roads have been cleared/cleaned and are fully operational with traffic observed. No signs of on-going repair work was observed.
The One and Only Beach Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Hurricane Matthew - Nassau

The One and Only Beach Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 19 October 2016

Introduction

On 6 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew, a slow moving Category Four (4) hurricane struck Paradise Island, Bahamas as it travelled north towards continental USA. MIS were commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels to the ‘One & Only Ocean Club’ tourist resort located on the shoreline of Paradise Island.

This report seeks to report key findings through a focussed open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Detail

Area in General

Situated on the northern shoreline of Paradise Island, the thirty five acre One & Only Ocean Club complex remains closed to guests as a result of damage sustained by Hurricane Matthew. This closure is confirmed by the club’s own website and those of independent travel companies. As of 19 October 2016, the One & Only Ocean Club has yet to release a re-opening date. Very high resolution, cloud free imagery dated 09 October 2016, showing the whole complex was used to compile this report. For the purpose for this report the complex was divided into the following zones:

·  Entrance, Reception, Lounge, Boutique and Hartford Wing Guest Accommodation

·  Crescent Wing Guest Accommodation

·  Garden Cottages Guest Accommodation

·  The Villas Guest Accommodation and Villa Pools

·  Dune Restaurant, Infinity Pool, Beach Deck and Beach Front

·  The Board Room and Hartford Room Conference Facilities

·  Versailles Pool & Cafe, Fitness Centre, Tennis Courts, Family Pool and Kids Play Area

·  Augustinian Cloisters Versailles Gardens

Assessment and Conclusions

Entrance, Reception, Lounge, Boutique and Hartford Wing Guest Accommodation

Very high resolution imagery indicates minimal damage to the low rise main entrance building, reception/lounge buildings and Hartford Wing guest accommodation, with the roof line fully intact. Minimal debris and standing palm trees were noted surrounding this zone. Employee activity was noted with several commercial vehicles identified at the resort loading bay and under the entrance canopy.

Crescent Wing Guest Accommodation

No structural damage could be determined across the five low rise guest accommodation blocks and the roof lines remained intact. The palm trees in this zone remained standing. A high tide mark debris field was noted on the adjacent beach that was devoid of any tourist activity or equipment. The shoreline remained intact with no indication of sea water ingress.

Garden Cottages Guest Accommodation

No structural damage could be determined across the Cottage low rise guest accommodation block and the roof lines remained intact. The palm trees in this zone remained standing. The individual cottage pools appeared dark, suggesting vegetation debris has formed across and in the pool.

The Villas Guest Accommodation and Villa Pools

No structural damage could be determined across the three Villa low rise guest accommodation blocks with all the roof lines remaining intact. The palm trees in this zone remained standing. The individual large pools appeared in need of cleaning with possibly vegetation debris and sand within the pool. Of note, the wooden walkway leading from the Villas to the beach over a sand dune remained fully intact. This, along with a high tide debris field on the beach confirms that the storm surge did not ingress this area.

Dune Restaurant, Infinity Pool, Beach Deck and Beach Front

Although located on the shoreline, no structural damage could be determined to the low rise restaurant block, with all the roof lines remaining intact. The palm trees in this zone remained standing. As with other areas of the resort, the infinity pool appeared in need of cleaning with possibly vegetation debris and most likely sand within the pool. The outside pool bar and eating areas remain vacant of deck furniture; however, it is almost certain that this was stored prior to the hurricane. Of note, the wooden ramp way leading to the beach remained fully intact. This, along with a high tide debris field on the beach confirms that the storm surge did not ingress this area.

The Board Room and Hartford Room Conference Facilities

No structural damage could be determined to the low rise conference facilities with all the roof lines remaining intact and nearby palm trees remaining standing.

Versailles Pool & Cafe, Fitness Centre, Spa, Tennis Courts, Family Pool and Play Area

No structural damage could be determined to the low rise cafe, spa and fitness centre blocks with all the peaked roof lines remaining intact and flat roof lines free of debris. The dense palm trees in this zone remained standing. As elsewhere in the resort, the two pools appeared in need of cleaning with almost certainly vegetation debris within the pool. The debris has sunk in the deep end of the Versailles pool. The family pool is completely unusable with a high level of debris in and around the pool. A ‘tide mark’ debris field was observed around the shallow edges of this pool for small children. It is highly probable that this debris has covered the children’s play area too, but this cannot be determined due to the sand/earthen nature of the play area.

Augustinian Cloisters Versailles Gardens

The gardens soft (plants, trees, shrubs) landscaping appears to be fully intact with all large trees remaining standing. No structural damage to the hard landscaping (cloister and gazebo) was observed; however, a portion of the southern shoreline may have slipped into the sea. A temporary barrier is in place preventing access to the sea wall. It is possible that the land slip has rendered this wall unserviceable; however, this cannot be determined even through very high resolution imagery.

Summary.

This report proposes that the One & Only Ocean Club remains functionally closed at this time, not due to significant structural damage, but as a result of damaged caused by hurricane related debris. It is almost certain that prior to the hurricane, all tourist furniture in the open was stored. The furniture is still not evident on imagery at this time and is likely to remain in storage. Although it remains highly
possible that any part of the resort suffered localised minor damage to individual rooms such as smashed or broken windows, no damage or associated repair work was observed. The resort car park was only partially occupied at the time of imaging.

The resort’s pools are functionally unserviceable at this time but do not appear to be structurally damaged and should return to full serviceability once the sand and vegetation debris is removed. The main damage concern is to the shoreline wall on the southern side of the resort. Although this damaged area has a barrier near the land slip, no repair work was observed on imagery at this time. Overall the resort will almost certainly open in the near term when remedial work has been completed across the site.

The Housing Partnership, 650E Strawbridge Avenue, Melbourne, Florida, USA
Hurricane Matthew - Strawbridge

The Housing Partnership, 650E Strawbridge Avenue, Melbourne, Florida, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 20 October 2016

Introduction

Between 6 and 7 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew tracked over the North Atlantic Ocean as a Category Three (3) hurricane and skirted the coastal fringes of Florida. The hurricane eventually made landfall in South Carolina as a Category One (1) hurricane on 8 October. Heavy bands of rainfall preceding the hurricane caused localised flooding across Florida. A post hurricane storm surge with water levels up by three metres impacted shorelines and further impacted already flooded coastal and low lying land.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels across several key sites in Florida. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focused open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery, dated 8 October 2016, was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Hurricane Matthew remained over the ocean to the east of the Floridian peninsular as it tracked north. Due to the proximity of the then Category 4 hurricane, heavy rain, strong winds and a storm surge impacted the easterly coastline along the whole Floridian peninsular. Melbourne is located on the western bank of the 800m – 1km wide Indian River and protected from the North Atlantic Ocean by a 500m – 1km strip of low lying land on which the settlement of Indialantic is built.

Assessment and Conclusions

The Housing Partnership, 650 E Strawbridge Avenue, Melbourne.

Associated and local press reporting highlighted the fact that watercraft, vegetation and fences took the brunt of the hurricane-whipped winds in Melbourne, Fl. with very little roof or soffit damage reported. Open source reporting highlighted at least three canopies were torn loose from a commercial property 300m to the east of the 17 storey predominantly residential medium rise building, The Housing Partnership located at 650 E Strawbridge Ave. No observable damage was noted to 650 E Strawbridge Avenue, or to the surrounding areas on very high resolution imagery dated 8 October 2016. Due to the building layover on the imagery the southern face of the building was not visible and thus has not been analysed in the compilation of this report.

Daytona Beach Regency (Diamond Resorts), Daytona Beach, Florida, USA
Hurricane Matthew - Daytona 1

Hurricane Matthew - Daytona 2

Daytona Beach Regency (Diamond Resorts), Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 20 October 2016

Introduction

Between 6 and 7 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew tracked over the North Atlantic Ocean as a Category Three (3) hurricane and skirted the coastal fringes of Florida. The hurricane eventually made landfall in South Carolina as a Category One (1) hurricane on 8 October. Heavy bands of rainfall preceding the hurricane caused localised flooding across Florida. A post hurricane storm surge with water levels up by three metres impacted shorelines and further impacted already flooded coastal and low lying land.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels across several key sites in Florida. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focused open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery, dated 8 October 2016, was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Hurricane Matthew remained over the ocean to the east of the Floridian peninsular as it tracked north. Due to the proximity of the then category 4 hurricane heavy rain, strong winds, and a storm surge impacted the the easterly coastline along the whole Floridian peninsular. Daytona Beach is located on a one kilometre strip of low lying land with the Halifax River to the west and North Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Assessment and Conclusions

Daytona Beach Regency (Diamond Resorts), Daytona Beach

The Diamond Resorts’ Daytona Beach Regency is a single 11 storey tower resort hotel complex situated on the shoreline with direct access to Daytona Beach. As of 8 October 2016, imagery confirms local press reporting that the majority of the hotel resorts along the North Atlantic Ocean coast bore the brunt of a storm surge in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Very high resolution imagery indicates a medium level of damage has occurred to the shore line pool complex. The single pool, patio area, slide and surrounding areas are almost certainly temporarily un- serviceable due to a build up of sand and vegetation debris covering the area and within the pool. The resort’s beach hut / shop does not appear damaged on imagery; however, an area of co-located vegetation has either been washed away or more likely covered by sand debris.

Of note, the storm surge was stopped by an oceanside retaining wall, with no wall damage observed, nor water ingress under or around this wall. No beach furniture was visible on the resorts beach, or patios; however it is highly probable this was stored prior to the hurricane.

Although it is highly probable that the ocean fronted guest suites in both towers suffered flying debris damage as reported in open press, this damage is not observable on imagery due to the resolution.
No further damage was observed to the external portion of the tower block. The resort car park contained a minimal number of cars; however, this hotel utilises an underground car park so low numbers of privately owned vehicle cannot be accurately assessed. The medium height palm trees and shrubs surrounding the external car park and located in the resorts landscaping were all still standing with no fallen trees observed. Of note, a damaged and felled wooden fence line was observed within the adjacent vacant building lot.

Cocoa Beach Retail Outlet, Florida, USA
Hurricane Matthew - Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach Retail Outlet, Florida, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 20 October 2016

Introduction

Between 6 and 7 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew tracked over the North Atlantic Ocean as a Category Three (3) hurricane and skirted the coastal fringes of Florida. The hurricane eventually made landfall in South Carolina as a Category One (1) hurricane on 8 October. Heavy bands of rainfall preceding the hurricane caused localised flooding across Florida. A post hurricane storm surge with water levels up by three metres impacted shorelines and further impacted already flooded coastal and low lying land.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels across several key sites in Florida. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focused open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery, dated 8 October 2016, was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Hurricane Matthew remained over the ocean to the east of the Floridian peninsular as it tracked north. Due to the proximity of the then Category 4 hurricane, heavy rain, strong winds,and a storm surge impacted the easterly coastline along the whole Floridian peninsular. Cocoa Beach is located on a narrow 400 m – 1 km strip of low lying land with the Banana River to the west and North Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Assessment and Conclusions

Retail – Winn Dixie (South-Eastern Grocery’s), Cocoa Beach

Cocoa and Cocoa Beach both suffered full power and partial water loss as Matthew passed, with all causeways to Cocoa Beach closed. The combination of the high winds, heavy rain and storm surge caused minimal but widespread damage through downed power lines, trees, traffic signals and other debris strewn across roads. Notable significant damage was caused to the flat roofs of three buildings located within a small retail complex on the junction of State Route A1A and Highway 520.

The South-Eastern Grocery’s Winn Dixie retail store reportedly suffered a total roof collapse. However, imagery from 8 October 2016 confirmed the damage was restricted to approximately 40% of the retail unit‘s flat roof area. The retail unit’s bank of air conditioning units are located on the opposite side of the roof and remained in place during the hurricane and subsequent repair work. It remains undetermined if these air conditioning units were damaged. The retail unit was confirmed closed for repair work until at least 18 October 2016. Open source research confirms the Winn Dixie retail store is fully operational and open to the public as at 20 October 2016.

Lumberton Power Generation Plant, North Carolina, USA
Hurricane Matthew - Deerwood

Lumberton Power Generation Plant, North Carolina, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 20 October 2016


Introduction

On 8 October 2016, Category One (1) Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina. Heavy bands of rainfall preceding, during and post Matthew caused localised flooding across Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolinas.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels to the Lumberton Thermal Power Plant, North Carolina. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focused open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Hurricane Matthew made landfall at McCellanville, 50 km north-east of Charleston, South Carolina as a Category One (1) hurricane on 8 October 2016 with 75 mph sustained winds. As the hurricane tracked north east ,the Carolinas experienced a 24-36 hour period of very heavy rains, strong winds and a coastal storm surge prior to the then downgraded slow moving tropical storm Matthew moving north-east towards Virginia.

Assessment and Conclusions

Georgia Renewable Power Plant, Lumberton

Occupying an area of low lying forested land, 2 km south of Lumberton, it is almost certain that that the Lumberton Power Plant’s operational capability was affected by Matthew due to the widespread 0.5 – 1.5m flooding surrounding and projecting into this installation.

Access

The metaled two lane road (Hestertown Road) leading to the main installation entrance was submerged under approximately 0.5 – 1.0m of flood water as at 12 October 2016. The single lane rear entrance earthen track to the west of the installation was also submerged. The flooding is believed to be deeper at this point due to the local terrain relief. No privately owned vehicles or commercial vehicles were observed across the installation. The control of access gate was closed.

Power Generation

The main electricity generation area remained free of flood water as at 12 October 2016. A lack of a debris tide line left by retreating flood water suggests that the flood water did not extend over and into this area at its highest point. It is highly likely that this ground is saturated with localised waterlogged areas. As a result of the flooding, the whole generation area is most likely non-operational at this time. The absence of smoke, steam and vapour emanating from the single stack, a lack of staff vehicles within the installation and general lack of activity reinforces this assessment.

Forced Draft Coolers, Fuel-Oil Storage, Transmission Yard and Power Lines

Ground marking indicates that flood water had previously collected in the low lying ground adjacent to the generation area. The areas between the forced draft coolers and fuel oil storage area and surrounding the transformer yard are still partially flooded and/or waterlogged as at 12 October 2016. These facilities did not appear operational on imagery. The power lines carrying the electricity from the installation and natural gas pipes carrying fuel to the installation are all surrounded by 0.5 – 1.5 m flood waters. Despite the flooding, the pipe work and power lines are assessed as fully serviceable and without damage.

Water Treatment Facility, Open Storage and Land for Development

The installation’s water treatment facility, vital for the function of power generation, is fully submerged under 0.5 – 1.5m of flood water as at 12 October 2016 and unserviceable. The cleared area immediately to the north (Possibly for development of the facility) and open storage areas along the western perimeter of the installation are both affected by flood water of varying depths covering approximately 30% of the cleared area and all of the western perimeter equipment storage areas.

Assessment

High resolution imagery dated 12 October 2016, confirms open source information that the Lumberton Power Plant was non-operational following Hurricane Matthew. It is likely that the installation suffered very limited structural damage following the floods and high hurricane associated winds. As such it is believed that the majority of the generating infrastructure remains fully serviceable but not in operation on 12 October 2016. Light damage to the forced draft coolers, transformer yard and covered storage areas cannot be ruled out; however, it is assessed that the water treatment facility is the only area that
has been seriously damaged due to floodwaters. Although equipment in the open storage areas man have been lost to the flood waters it is almost certain the open storage areas will be fully serviceable when the flood water subsides.

55 Deerwood, Wilmington Island, Savannah, Georgia, USA
Hurricane Matthew - Deerwood

55 Deerwood, Wilmington Island, Savannah, Georgia, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 20 October 2016

Introduction

On 8 October 2016, Category One (1) Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina. Heavy bands of rainfall preceding, during and post Matthew, caused localised flooding across Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolinas.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels to the 55 Deerwood, Savannah, Georgia. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focussed open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Prior to Hurricane Matthew making landfall, approximately 200km north-east of Savannah on 8 October 2016, the state of Georgia experienced sustained strong winds, bands of heavy rain over a period of 24–36 hours followed by a coastal storm surge. 55 Deerwood is located on Wilmington Island at a mere 5m above mean sea level. The complex is approximately 15km from Central Savannah and is the postal address for the Buccaneer Trace Apartment Complex.

Assessment and Conclusions

Situated in dense forest and set around a figure of 8 road design, the Buccaneer Trace complex consists of 28 multi-family rental apartments, at least 11 designated resident car parks and a club house and/or office area with outdoor pool in a self contained community. Small detached single family dwellings surround this complex. The Buccaneer Trace complex is not a fence and gated community with no control of entry or exit observed.

The dense forestation surrounding and within the apartment complex, precludes a full and complete assessment of the whole Buccaneer Trace complex. At least seven multi-family apartment blocks are over 7 5% obscured from view by large established trees. As such, a complete assessment of the roofline and structure is not possible from imagery alone. Nevertheless, the partially visible rooftops appeared intact. The remaining 21 multi-family apartment blocks were in the majority, only partly (0%-25%) obscured, making an assessment possible.

The tone and colouration of the rooflines and placement of air conditioning vents on these 21 blocks is consistent to that of the historic imagery. It is assessed from very high resolution imagery that the roofs and super structures of these residential buildings are not substantially damaged. No damage or associated repair work was noted on the imagery.

The number of privately owned cars parked in the parking areas is also of a consistent level to both historic MIS imagery data-sets and open source publicly available imagery. This suggests that as of 13 October 2016, residents were still in situ. This occupancy assessment is further bolstered by the lack of debris surrounding the pool area and within the pool. The pool was clean and serviceable on 13 October 2016.

Open source information suggests recent construction and improvement works are underway across the complex. No heavy construction equipment or temporary builder’s compounds were observed in the complex. An area of trees which appeared to have been deliberately felled and ground works was observed; however, resolution and ground shadow precludes confirmation of the exact nature of this area. It is assessed that although the full nature of this area cannot be determined it is most likely not due to forces associated with Hurricane Matthew.

The whole of the Buccaneer Trace complex and surrounding area does not appear to have suffered significant damage from either the force of the winds, nor suffered flooding from either the intense rainfall or a storm surge. Drainage ditches and culverts were free from debris and below full water capacity.

Washington, North Carolina, USA
Hurricane Matthew - Washington

Washington, North Carolina, USA

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 20 October 2016

Introduction

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina as a Category One (1) hurricane on 8 October. As Matthew tracked North overland it dissipated its energy and became a tropical storm. North Carolina experienced heavy bands of rainfall as Matthew, slowly moved north over the state.

MIS was commissioned on 17 October to assess damage levels across an area of interest in North Carolina. This report seeks to highlight key findings through a focussed open source research and by comparing pre and post hurricane incident imagery. The open source data research was conducted by an open source intelligence research and internet security trained and experienced analyst. The imagery was analysed by a trained and experienced imagery analyst.

Details

Area in General

Washington, North Carolina is located 100km inland from Pamlico Sound, a large lagoon formed at the estuaries of the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. The Pamlico River passes through to the south of the settlement of Washington.

Assessment and Conclusions

No individual building for assessment could be identified at the given location point of interest (Latitude 35.55922 / Longitude 77.03357). A box area assessment 800m x 500m around this point was was conducted. The semi-rural box area is located 3km north-east of Washington’s commercial/retail area and consists of large detached family dwellings surrounded by cultivated land and natural medium density wood land.

Very high resolution imagery dated 16 October 2016 was used to assess potential storm damage. However, of the 37 large dwellings and their numerous outbuildings, no storm or flood damage was observed at any of properties. All of the properties’ fence-lines and trees remained standing, as did a barrier at the end of a road. Five of the dwellings had open air pools of which only one was clean, with the remaining four in need of a clean/water change. It is highly likely that given the autumnal temperatures in North Carolina, that these dirty pools have simply not been cleaned at the end of the summer the season. The single clean pool had no floating vegetation debris, which may have been noted following a storm given the proximity of woodland.

The woodland surrounding the properties did not appear to have suffered during the storm, with no fallen trees observed. A drainage ditch and pair of culverts were free of debris and below water capacity.
The surrounding area showed no signs of a debris tide mark. An area of waterlogged cultivated ground was observed; however, open source imagery indicates that this area of the field is prone to water logging and localised flooding.

Given the lack of storm damage or flood damage to this area a wider scan was undertaken. This scan did not observe any storm damage other than a second area of localised flooding or water logged cultivated ground. Of note, a solar farm located on an airfield approximately 2 km to the east of the box area remained fully intact as did the light aircraft on the parking aprons.

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