The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District is providing material and technical assistance to communities across the Southeast in preparation for Hurricane Laura. The district is mobilizing its Emergency Operations Center as well as the Mapping, Modeling and Consequences Center, according to a news release.


The USACE Vicksburg District’s Emergency Operations Center has activated its emergency watch for hurricane response operations. The center is collaborating with local, state and federal officials in Mississippi and Louisiana to monitor conditions across the region and prepare support teams to deploy if necessary. The center deployed its sand bag machine to south Mississippi communities last weekend. The machine, which filled approximately 5,000 sandbags during its deployment, returned to Vicksburg on Wednesday.


The USACE Mapping, Modeling and Consequences Center is helping to develop products for areas across Louisiana and Texas, including mapping for the Neches, Trinity and Sabine rivers and modeling for downstream of the Addick and Barker reservoirs. The data from these maps and models, which are coordinated with the National Hurricane Center and the USACE New Orleans and Galveston districts, helps local and state emergency management officials to determine evacuation routes and staging areas.


Additionally, the USACE Vicksburg District’s Water Management Section ran models for the Red and Ouachita rivers and produced inundation mapping for the Pearl River to allow senior leadership to make informed decisions regarding the monitoring and operation of structures in the area.


“Hurricane Laura poses an extreme threat to regions across the Southeast, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “The Vicksburg District is committed to supporting our local, state and federal partners and the communities we serve through this unprecedented challenge.”


According to the National Weather Service as of 1 p.m., Hurricane Laura is a Category 4 storm projected to make landfall Wednesday night near the border between Louisiana and Texas and produce catastrophic impacts, including extreme storm surge, winds, flooding and tornados.


The Mapping, Modeling and Consequences Center is a national center of expertise based at the district headquarters building in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The center is responsible for developing hydraulic modeling, consequence assessments, inundation mapping and study reports for USACE dam and levee projects and flood events. The center’s products are intended to support a risk-based assessment, prioritization, and management framework for dam and levee safety programs.


The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.