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Brian McInerney Hydrologist AMS Presentation on BAER National Weather Service October 29th, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Brian McInerney Hydrologist AMS Presentation on BAER National Weather Service October 29th, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Brian McInerney Hydrologist AMS Presentation on BAER National Weather Service October 29th, 2009

2 What is BAER? Burn Area Emergency Response

3 Mud Flow, Debris Flow, Landslide Mud Flow is filled with clays, silt, and other fine grained debris Debris flow is filled with larger material like boulders, trees It looks like wet cement Landslides are slow moving and very deep. Cracking cement, indoor plaster walls, and shifting landscapes are signs of landslides

4 Why do they form BAER Teams?

5 BAER Teams Determines burn severity Effects on Watershed Identifies vulnerable areas Identifies values at risk Identifies debris flow potential

6 So how does one become a BAER Team member?

7 Seasoned FirefighterNew Guy

8 Lets Review

9 Seasoned Firefighter Weather Forecaster

10 Red Card Qualification Pack Test 45 lbs 3 miles in 45 mns Old Pack Test Run 2 miles in 20 mns Step Test Physical fitness is a big deal Its important to be able to hike all day

11 Fire Behavior Classes Required A multitude of fire behavior classes are required Training sessions are also part of the curriculum I had experience in fire fighting in a past life Firefighter during the 1986 Yellowstone fire

12 So Why is a Weather Service Employee part of a BAER Team?

13 We warn for Debris Flows The reality of it is that people can die from these events Debris flows occur often times on alluvial fans More and more homes are built on alluvial fans The reality of it is that people can die from these events Debris flows occur often times on alluvial fans More and more homes are built on alluvial fans

14 We Needed To Learn More What better way than to survey the burn scar with other physical scientists We can also impart info on rainfall intensities, volume, location and areal extents We gain insight as to rainfall intensity and volume which produce debris flows

15 Recent Debris Flows

16 Farmington Debris Flow April 6th, 2004 Debris flow damaged multiple homes On the initial assessment, I was told that they did not need a weather forecast and told me to go home No one was injured or hurt Hour lead time on flash flood warning Almost had nervous breakdown

17 Santaquin Debris Flow September 12, 2002 Debris flow damaged 20 homes with 3 knocked off foundations Toured burn scar with Utah Geologic Survey Geologists Learned a great deal about debris flows Briefed Santaquin City at Town Hall Meeting Mayor cried at meeting

18 Spring Lake Burn July 26th, 2004 Debris flow damaged 2 homes and filled irrigation canal Escorted visitor to burn site Shirt was too small Pants too big Woman who lived in house destroyed was cleaning off furniture with Windex

19 Corner Canyon Debris Flow June 17th, 2009 Debris flow damaged 4 homes with serious damage to one Worked with BAER team regarding debris flow potential Hiked watershed and gained a very good understanding of burn severity, intensity, and hydrophobicity. Briefed 120 members of the community, some of whom thought I was alarmist Flash Flood Warning with 0 lead time

20 Corner Canyon Debris Flow Drainage Basins Debris Flow Path Burn Scar Perimeter

21 Debris Flow Damage Area Burn Perimeter Debris Flow Path

22 Corner Canyon Debris Flow Photo compliments of the UGS Large trench eroded here USFS Debris Fences here Area of heaviest rainfall

23 Antecedent June Rainfall Amounts Prior to Debris Flow ~400% of normal~3-4 inches of rain

24 Area That Produced Debris Flow One Hour Frequency Estimate 0.60 inches of rainfall in 1 hour occurs statistically at least once every 2 years or so over this area.

25 Radar Rainfall Reflectivity Image Burn Scar

26 One Hour Precipitation Loop

27 Rainfall Analysis of Debris Flow Basin Rainfall analysis at origin of Debris Flow Instantaneous Rainfall Rate of near 0.80 inches per hour at time of debris flow Radar estimate of 0.60 inches

28 Rainfall Analysis of Basin Just North of Debris Flow Rainfall analysis of basin just to North of Debris Flow Radar estimate of 1.00 inch Instantaneous Rainfall Rate of near 2.00 inches per hour at time of debris flow

29 Mill Flat Burn Near New Harmony, Utah Very steep slopes High Burn Severity High Burn Intensity Areas of Hydrophobicity

30 Mill Flat Fire

31 Alert Weather Station Survey Find proper location for Alert Weather Station (RAWS gage) Line of Sight Radio Transmission Upper drainage location Accessible

32 Transects 10 Steps Bare Ground Rock Vegetation At the end of the 10 steps take hydrophobicity test 10 Steps again Bare Grond Rock Vegetation Result is a survey of the slope in question Hike to another drainage and continue the survey

33 Where Is The Ship Going? After the helicopter flew us to the top of the range, then took off without us, I felt sad A very long day with 9 hours of surveys, hiking, and climbing Descend 3000 ft. from summit area to New Harmony As hard as these things are, its the best way to obtain data, and understand

34 Thanks Everyone

35 Questions?

36 Contact Information Brian McInerney c


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