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National Geodetic Survey

Remote Sensing Division

Nor’Easter November 2009 Aerial Photographs

Office of Coast Survey

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NOS Responds to November 2009 Nor'easter

An aerial photograph of a grounded barge along the Virginia coast.

An aerial photograph of a grounded barge along the Virginia coast.

The week of November 9, the remnants of Hurricane Ida combined with a coastal storm to produce a powerful nor’easter that wreaked havoc along the mid-Atlantic coast. In the wake of the storm, the National Geodetic Survey and Office of Coast Survey responded, surveying impacted areas.

NOAA Cessna Citation aircraft

The NOAA Cessna Citation, a versatile twin-engine jet aircraft, acquired remote sensing imagery along the Hampton Roads shoreline following the storm.  The aircraft is equipped with two equal-sized camera ports which can support a wide variety of remote sensing configurations, including large format aerial photography.

The National Geodetic Survey’s Remote Sensing Division deployed personnel and NOAA’s emergency response aircraft to the scene to take aerial images along the coast in the hardest hit areas. The imagery will provide valuable access to information, allowing communities to assess the damage caused by the storm.

As a result of the airborne survey work, the National Geodetic Survey was also able to test and demonstrate new capabilities to better serve NOAA, emergency responders, and other federal, state, and local agencies in assessing the impacts of significant coastal storms.

Also following the storm, the Office of Coast Survey (OCS) conducted hydrographic surveys along the Virginia and North Carolina coasts. OCS staff aboard the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson searched for submerged debris in shipping lanes and also conducted surveys at the request of the Virginia Pilots Association to ensure the new riprap on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was still in place. NOAA survey vessels like the Thomas Jefferson conduct surveys in support of updating NOAA nautical charts, as well as respond when plane crashes, vessel groundings, or other accidents require underwater coastal searches and investigations.

Multibeam image

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, homeported in Norfolk, conducted emergency hydrographic surveys in Cape Henry and the Elizabeth River to locate submerged debris, shoals, and other hazards to maritime navigation caused by the storm.  This image, captured by a multibeam echo sounder, shows the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel riprap is holding and that the tunnel is safe.