Tropical Storm Karen formed over Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, October 3. Karen never reached expectations of developing hurricane strength. At the height of its intensity, Karen’s peak winds were 50 mph. While Karen did not produce major damage, there was some localized flooding due to storm surge and rain along portions of the Gulf Coast as the storm passed near the coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Despite the Federal government-wide shutdown, Department of the Interior bureaus and offices were engaged in preparedness efforts across the Gulf Coast to protect life and property:
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE tracked reports from industry on the evacuations of personnel from off-shore rigs and platforms, as well as shut-in energy production at these facilities. At the height of the storm, on Saturday, October 5,
The most recent statistics are available at www.doi.gov/shutdown.
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). BIA coordinated with Tribes in the storm’s path, including the Chitimacha, Poarch Creek and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. None of the three Tribes had to issue evacuation orders nor did they have any unmet needs.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A small team was mobilized to monitor a BLM-permitted oil and gas production facility with 60 wells in Plaquemines Parish, LA. In addition, BLM activated staff at the Piney Woods Holding Facility in central Mississippi to ensure the safety, health and well-being of approximately 150 wild horses and burros.
Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). BOR coordinated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding potential support requirements for Emergency Support Function (ESF)-3 (Public Works and Engineering) under the National Response Framework. No missions were issued.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The FWS Southeast Region Management Team (SRMT) coordinated with units at coastal locations and recalled Federal employees to duty to secure watercraft, motor vehicles, trailers, equipment and structures against possible storm damage or loss. Regional Refuge Law Enforcement Officers, Special Agents, Dam Safety Officers and warranted contracting officers were placed on standby to deal with contingencies.
National Park Service (NPS). NPS implemented Hurricane Action Plans at both the Gulf Island National Seashore and Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve. Law enforcement rangers enforced storm closures at both parks. Gulf Islands experienced some flooding, high surf and sand over the roadway. NPS coordinated with FEMA but did not receive any requests for interagency assistance for Emergency Support Function (ESF)-9 (Search and Rescue) or ESF-13 (Law Enforcement) support under the National Response Framework.
Office of Wildland Fire (OWF). OWF coordinated with the U.S. Forest Service regarding potential support requirements for interagency support under Emergency Support Function-4 (Firefighting) under the National Response Framework. No resources were required.
United States Geological Survey (USGS). USGS personnel in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida maintained streamflow gages needed for National Weather Service (NWS) river flood forecasting, monitoring equipment used for reservoir management, as well as the steam gages required for local flood warning. USGS continues to provide hazard data and information by maintaining only those websites necessary to protect lives and property at the USGS homepage at http://www.usgs.gov/. No storm surge data or water-quality samples were collected. Available satellite and aerial imagery was posted for use by first responders and the public on the HDDS (Hazard Data Distribution System).