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NGA deploys team to Snohomish County, Wash. to assist FEMA in recovery efforts

April 11, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency deployed a small team of analysts to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local responders in recovery efforts following the March 22 mudslide and flooding which engulfed an entire square mile of Snohomish County, Wash.

Within hours of the disaster, NGA set up a disaster event Web page to provide NGA analysis and products and enable information sharing between first responders. Over the next several days, the agency began providing commercial imagery collection. NGA analysts also developed disaster atlases that depict pre- and post-event imagery of the affected areas in Snohomish County.

The deployed team was requested this week to provide on-site expertise to the FEMA Incident Support Team, Urban Search and Rescue teams and other disaster response personnel. This support will include depicting damage, providing structure assessments, elevation models, field mapping and analysis, refining search grids, and recording field observations.

Imagery will also be used to evaluate the actual location of the Stillaguamish River. Located about 55 miles northeast of Seattle, the river’s path has been rendered unrecognizable due to the flooding. The mudslide forced the river to back up and flood the area until it began cutting a new channel. As the river tried to correct itself it caused severe underground tunneling, making the recovery effort even more dangerous. 

Approved for public release: 14-299