09:36 AM

Hurricane Harvey Damage Assessment Photo Mission Continues; Imagery Count Tops 200,000

Aircrews photographing chemical and hazardous waste issues, record infrastructure damage in Houston

Lt. Col. Johanna O. Augustine
Public Information Officer
Texas Wing

As Hurricane Harvey fades from memory for most of the country, Civil Air Patrol is still flying high over southeast Texas taking photographs of areas devastated by the storm.

The Texas Wing’s incident command post will move from San Marcos to Denton today, with CAP planes continuing to fly out of bases in San Marcos and Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base.

“CAP still has a huge presence in Texas and will be here until we are no longer needed,” said Lt. Col. Rick Woolfolk, incident commander for the Harvey mission. “There are 256 CAP volunteers from 27 states assisting the Texas Wing to provide quality imagery to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state of Texas in a timely manner.”

With 45 flights scheduled for today, CAP aircrews will be providing imagery of chemical and hazardous waste issues and record damage to key infrastructure throughout the Houston area.

“Crews will also fly over Port Arthur, Beaumont and the city of Houston photographing the amount of waste put on the curb to help in determining the amount of loss for each residence,” Woolfolk said. “Plus, CAP was providing an airborne repeater for Texas Task Force 1 over the Beaumont/Port Arthur area while they were doing search and rescue activities.”

In addition to daily imagery flights, CAP pilots provide transportation for VIPs as needed. Earlier this week 1st Lt. Justin Clevenger, Indiana Wing, transported Scott Thomas, FEMA director for the emergency response for Harvey, from Austin to the Ellington Field base. This was the first time Thomas, a pilot himself, had flown with CAP.

All CAP images are delivered daily to the Center for Space Research in Austin; since Aug. 26 more than 200,000 images have been produced. CAP is responsible for photographing an area covering roughly 255 miles of coastline from the Corpus Christi landfall impact zone to Beaumont and Port Arthur.

The collection area extends approximately 90 miles inland, covering 23,000 square miles including Houston and eight major rivers. Images may be viewed online.

CAP also maintains a presence at the state of Texas Emergency Operations Center in Austin and the Texas Air Operations Center at Camp Mabry.