Published 9:32 PM EDT Oct 10, 2018
WASHINGTON — The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to cover tens of thousands of rooftops damaged by Hurricane Michael, according to a senior officer.
Computer models of damage wrought by the Category 4 storm indicate widespread roof damage and destruction across several states, Army Maj. Gen. Scott Spellmon, the Corps' deputy commanding general for Civil and Emergency Operations, told USA TODAY late Wednesday.
By contrast, Hurricane Florence, which inundated the Carolinas last month, did not result in any calls on the Corps for its signature blue-tarp roof patches.
"This one is more of a wind event," Spellmon said.
More: Hurricane Michael: What we know now
More: Hurricane Michael: early reports show devastation
The Corps has a contract to provide temporary rooftops that allow it to patch as many as necessary, he said. The intent is to allow people to stay in their homes during the recovery rather than move to temporary housing.
The Corps acts as the engineer-on-call for the Federal Emergency Management Agency during disasters. For Michael, it has deployed about 200 generators to provide temporary power to hospitals, nursing homes and police and fire stations, Spellmon said.
The Corps also has dispatched seven vessels to survey damage at ports and shipping channels, and to help reopen them, Spellmon said.
Dams under Corps' control are being operated to handle heavy rainfall from Michael. Teams of engineers can be deployed to assess their safety, if needed, although no requests have been made, Spellmon said.
FEMA and local governments may also call on the Corps to help clear downed trees from roads and debris from damaged homes and buildings. Models of Michael's path of destruction indicate the storm could leave more than one million cubic yards of trash in its wake, Spellmon said.
The biggest initial challenge for recovery will be clearing roads so that crews can get to work, he said.
About 2,000 National Guard soldiers have been activated to respond to the storm, according to the Pentagon.