10.2A Applications of Satellite Imagery Applications to Assist in Storm Damage Assessment

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 1:45 PM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Lori A. Schultz, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL ; and K. Angle, T. Cole, K. Skow, J. Bell, A. L. Molthan, J. E. Burks, and K. M. McGrath

The National Weather Service (NWS) has developed the Damage Assessment Toolkit (DAT), an application for smartphones, tablets and web browsers that allows for the collection, geolocation, and aggregation of various damage indicators collected during storm surveys. As part of an ongoing collaboration between NASA and NOAA, members of the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) team have been working to integrate Earth-observing remote sensing from operational, polar-orbiting satellites to support the damage assessment process. Imagery assists by identifying portions of damage tracks that may be missed due to road limitations, access to private property, or time constraints. This support includes data and imagery from Terra and Aqua MODIS, Landsat-7, Landsat-8, S-NPP VIIRS, Terra Aster, and EO-1 in addition to high resolution commercial imagery such as Digital Globe-Worldview and other DOD imagers. Image products that utilize change detection techniques can identify damage to vegetation and the land surface, aiding in the survey process. Higher resolution commercial imagery can be corroborated with ground-based surveys to improve accuracy by providing a highly detailed overview of the damaged. Daily and publicly released products and imagery are pushed to a web mapping server (WMS) as they are received, while commercial imagery is acquired by the USGS, then ingested and provided upon request of a NWS office in support of a damage survey. Prior to the 2015 severe storm season, SPoRT team members created targeted training materials which provided example uses of imagery in addition to developing level 1 products from spectral bands onboard the various polar-orbiting sensors. In cooperation with the NWS Central Regions' Regional Operations Center (ROC), this training was provided live to over 20 offices through a webinar. The training was made available offline to all offices within Central region through an internal NWS intranet. Since the start of the severe weather season, several severe storm events affecting five NWS WFOs have occurred, resulting in the adjustment of three tornado tracks as a direct result of the information provided by satellite imagery during the damage assessment process. The NWS WFO in Des Moines, Iowa has been affected by two separate storm events: an EF1 tornado at Lake City on 10th of May 2015, and on the 22nd of June 2015 an EF3 that occurred near Columbia and an EF1 tornado near Eddyville. Satellite imagery used within the DAT resulted in the adjustment of location and lengths of two out of three tracks. This presentation will describe where and how the different datasets were used during the survey.
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