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Mon, Sep 22, 2008

CAP Gives NWS Meteorologists Birds-Eye Views Of Ike Damage

Ground Teams Pass Out Water, Food As Recon Flight Continue Overhead

Civil Air Patrol pilots flew National Weather Service meteorologists up and down the East Texas coast Friday in a Gippsland GA8 Airvan. The meteorologists are developing a report on Hurricane Ike and they will use photography taken aloft in the CAP plane and observations made while flying along the coast and above Galveston in their assessment.

"This mission is going to help us with our ground data," said Patrick Blood, a NWS meteorologist. "Now we have aerial photos and video that we can tie together for our complete coastal report."

During the flight, Blood took about 800 photos that will help the NWS determine Ike’s wind speed, the amount of surge that overran Galveston Island and the distance storm debris traveled inland.

While the NWS was aloft with the Civil Air Patrol, other CAP volunteers served Houston residents on the ground at Manvel High School. Dozens of ground team members passed out bags of ice, bottled water and meals to residents driving through the school’s parking lot. CAP members also provided first aid to weary residents of Manvel, a community of about 7,000 just south of Houston.

Working beside CAP were Manvel residents, local volunteer emergency service providers and state police. Manvel Mayor Delores Martin also assisted the effort, and she appreciated CAP’s help, especially that provided by cadets.

"These young people have been tremendous," Martin said. "They didn't ask for anything but 'Give me a job.' They did everything, they picked up, they carried, they offered help to people."

According to Lt. Col. Brooks Cima, incident commander for Texas Wing's mission base at the West Houston Airport, more than 30 CAP members were staffing the distribution site.

More aircrews and ground team members, including some from CAP's Arkansas and Oklahoma wings, are expected to arrive at the Houston base this weekend to support ongoing aerial photography missions for the state of Texas. CAP aircrews' digital photos of critical infrastructure in the storm-ravaged areas are being used to restore essential services like power, water and fuel. Louisiana Wing is also flying similar missions for the state of Louisiana.

FMI: View Hurricane Damage Photos, www.cap.gov

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