Back to top

Map of the Month: Hurricane Laura’s Aftermath

The Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) is NOAA’s online mapping tool that integrates both static and real-time data, enabling users to quickly and securely access, analyze, and display spatial data. The "Map of the Month" series highlights unique maps from throughout ERMA's use and history.

A map showing an area in the Gulf of Mexico, with a photo of a helipad on a shoreline.
Map displaying the pollution targets from Hurricane Laura on Sept. 4, 2020 using ERMA's informational dashboards.

OR&R uses ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application) to prepare and track hurricanes before landfall and to help communities clean up post impact. ERMA recently served as a common operational picture and data resource for responders as  Hurricane Laura came crashing into the shores of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas on Aug. 27, as a Category 4 storm. 

OR&R's Emergency Response Division (ERD) provided support for the U.S. Coast Guard response, providing trajectory analysis to show where any spilled oil or chemicals may have gone and helping to identify specific debris targets from NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) imagery generated post-landfall. While there was substantial destruction of property that created many small spills, fortunately, the storm did not cause any major pollution events that threatened the environment. 

However, Hurricane Laura created approximately 8 million cubic yards of debris and ORR’s Marine Debris Program is working with FEMA and the State of Louisanna to evaluate debris issues and provide necessary information to impacted communities. ERMA is being used to visualize debris target locations and ERMA’s data dashboards help track clean up progress. ERMA can display background information, photos of the target locations, and counts of the targets in each of the stages of remediation.

September’s "Map of the Month" showcases how ERMA is being used right now by experts to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Due to the sensitive and evolving nature of this work, the debris target hurricane response data is not publically available. 

Please visit Gulf of Mexico ERMA to view Hurricane Laura’s Wind Swath and hundreds of other public datasets.

Last updated Wednesday, February 28, 2024 7:48am PST

more about: