Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This isn’t Kansas Toto

Since we brought our system online last September, we haven’t had the opportunity, or need, to showcase our rapid-response capability.  That changed with the devastating set of storms that rolled into the deep-south on April 24th, which spawned an EF4 tornado that was on the ground for an astonishing 149 miles!

On the Move
Once the debris settled into place, we quickly re-routed the system to Yazoo City, MS, which at the time was en route to Florida for a project with the DOT.  We picked Yazoo City because it was one the harder hit areas (the wedge funnel was over 1.75 miles wide in Yazoo City), and it presented the opportunity to perform widespread damage assessments.

Johnny on the spot
Five hours (and 280 miles) after re-routing the Mobile LiDAR system, we were on-site.  We’ve always said that the key to the system is mobility, and the ability to rapidly deploy for emergency situations.  When we rolled into town, we knew our response couldn’t have been any better when only the emergency management responders, local media, and storm-chasers were on the scene.  The picture to the right shows the remnants of Hillcrest Baptist Church and the devastation a storm of this magnitude can cause. 

For anyone that’s watched the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chaser’s television series, you’ll likely recognize Reed Timmons’ TVN “Dominator” tornado intercept vehicle in the below image.  Although the Dominator is built to withstand high winds and hail…we think our system looks better.

This is the first in a series of blogs showing information collected in the aftermath of the late-April tornado that devastated Yazoo City, MS.  Baker has had a long presence in Mississippi - our Jackson office is the second oldest in our firm at 60+ years.  Our thoughts are with those you have been impacted by this storm.

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