Innovate! provides GIS story maps with online response activity data to assist EPA with its mission to gather critical information and data for the cleanup effort’s aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu
On October 25, 2018 Super Typhoon Yutu made landfall in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as a Category 5 typhoon. The storm was the strongest on record to ever pass over Saipan and Tinian, with 180 mile-per-hour winds, heavy rains, and coastal flooding.
CNMI is a United States territory in the northwestern Pacific Ocean just east of the East Mariana Ridge. The series of 14 islands has a population of about 55,000 people. Saipan and Tinian are the largest islands and were hardest hit by the typhoon.
Innovate!’s GIS Developer team was deployed at the Typhoon’s onset to track its motion as it was making landfall. Innovate! created wind motion maps that monitored the storm throughout its duration. The EPA and local officials used these maps to help plan and coordinate moving people into shelters to weather the storm and to monitor the storm’s impacts.
Almost two months later Innovate! continues to deliver GIS solutions and maps to support the EPA following Super Typhoon Yutu. The EPA was tasked by FEMA to assist CNMI’s Commonwealth Utilities Commission (CUC) and Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (BECQ) with collection, testing and removal of electrical transformers that were damaged during the storm; collection and disposal of household hazardous waste, white goods and e-waste; and assessment of hazardous materials and oil facilities on Saipan and Tinian. The EPA is using data gathering and data mapping tools developed by Innovate! to assess damage caused by the typhoon, implement cleanup activities, and reduce public health and environmental risks.
GIS Developer Jenny Herring states, “I am proud to be part of Innovate!’s GIS team tasked to work on the Typhoon Yutu project. As someone who has lived through and rebuilt after several hurricanes, I find it immensely rewarding to help make that process smoother for those affected by this typhoon.”
EPA is also providing technical assistance to CUC on water quality as CUC personnel work to restore their water system infrastructure. In addition, EPA is assisting CNMI’s BECQ and the Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH) on assessments and sampling of non-CUC public water systems.
Innovate!’s GIS maps are invaluable to the EPA’s and local officials’ data collection, emergency response, and cleanup efforts.