92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 11:45 AM
Impact-Based Decision Support Services Provided to the Enbridge/Kalamazoo, Michigan Oil Spill
Room 335/336 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Michael J. Hudson, NOAA/NWS, Kansas City, MO; and D. K. Cobb Jr. and R. Wagenmaker

On July 26, 2010 a 30-inch pipeline ruptured in Marshall, Michigan spilling one million gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The crude oil inundated wetlands and private property along a 30-mile reach of the Kalamazoo River that included the city of Battle Creek. Toxic benzene fumes emanating from the crude oil resulted in the evacuation of 61 homes and a trailer park with hundreds of persons treated for fume-related illnesses at area urgent care centers and hospitals. Damage and cleanup costs are expected to exceed $300 million.

NOAA was asked to provide impact-based decision support services (IDSS) to the state of Michigan's Emergency Operations Center in Lansing immediately following a State Disaster Declaration by the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm on July 28, 2010. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) asked for NWS IDSS services shortly thereafter, and NWS responded with personnel to Marshall, Michigan. The Enbridge oil spill was the longest IDSS initiative undertaken by NWS Central Region to date. The initial support effort to USEPA lasted three months and involved the Grand Rapids and Detroit/Pontiac Weather Forecast Offices, as well as the North Central River Forecast Center, the Central Region Headquarters Regional Operations Center, and fifteen National Weather Service emergency response personnel. NWS personnel provided critical meteorological and hydrological forecasts that facilitated the containment and cleanup of the crude oil and the safety of all responders during excessive heat/cold, severe weather, and flooding hazards.

Due to the magnitude and longevity of decision support resources provided to the response and its relevance to NOAA's 2020 strategic goal of a weather-ready Nation, a regional service assessment team was commissioned to examine the products and services provided to the state of Michigan's Emergency Operations Center and the USEPA's Incident Command Post from the beginning of the event in late July through early November 2010. Service assessments provide a valuable contribution to ongoing efforts by the National Weather Service to improve the quality, timeliness, and value of products and services. This presentation will summarize the findings and recommendations from this assessment that improve techniques, products, services, and information provided to partners and the American public.

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