U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares for Hurricane Irma; continues to respond to Harvey

Published Sept. 7, 2017

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is closely coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other federal partners, and state and local agencies in preparing for Hurricane Irma. 

USACE has received a FEMA mission assignment for temporary power. Three Power Planning and Response Teams have deployed to assist with power assessments and generator installations in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Florida.

In addition, USACE debris subject matter experts have deployed to assist FEMA with debris management strategies. Personnel and resources are also being postured and prepared to support FEMA response efforts and support navigation requirements post-Irma landfall.

USACE’s Jacksonville District has begun making water releases from Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee, Florida, in anticipation of expected heavy rainfall by Irma.

While preparing for Hurricane Irma, USACE personnel remain fully engaged in supporting the federal response to Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, USACE personnel are supporting requirements for temporary power, debris removal technical assistance, temporary housing technical planning, infrastructure assessment, and commodities technical assistance.

USACE’s Galveston District continues its 24-hour monitoring of conditions at Addicks and Barker reservoirs, located west of downtown Houston. USACE officials have been releasing storm water from the two reservoirs to draw down record water levels that resulted from Hurricane Harvey.  The drawdown will prepare the reservoirs to store water during possible future storm events. USACE estimates that the two reservoirs collectively retained more than 140 billion gallons of storm water that otherwise would have flowed uncontrolled into Houston.

"Many disasters are handled successfully at state and local levels, but when the nation needs our assistance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivers life-saving aid during a disaster and helps rebuild communities afterward, all to care for our fellow citizens in their time of greatest need,” said USACE commanding general, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite.  “We engineer solutions for the nation's toughest challenges— that includes rebuilding critical infrastructure after natural disasters."

Hundreds of USACE professionals respond to multiple, separate and distinct disasters each year, working around the clock to aid disaster survivors. USACE is able to deliver critically needed public works and engineering expertise during multiple emergencies that may occur in close succession, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, in support of FEMA under the National Response Framework.

For more information on the USACE response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, please visit







Gene Pawlik
Raini Brunson

Release no. 17-043