MPTX Associates (MPTX) is a professional contracting firm specializing in federal grant funding administration, project management, and implementation regulations (NAIC 541611 Administrative Management & General Management Consulting Services). Areas of technical focus include systems analysis for public programs, IT innovation, and the use of performance metrics to optimize project outcomes.

Our goal is to guide and assist public agencies to benefit from federal funding and achieve long-term community vitality and resiliency. Our approach includes utilizing rapidly emerging tools, forward-thinking methods, strategic planning, and agile use of experience and technology.

MPTX firmly supports strong governmental ethics, regulatory compliance, and best practices for maintaining the integrity of public institutions. We strive to facilitate efficient teamwork, through intelligent work-flows and cohesive information channels. Clarity, detail, and foundational principles supported by thorough documentation are keys to this approach.

Our research areas include the use of emerging technology augmented by decades of experience for system audits and optimization. These modern techniques are advancing a range of services for federally funded disaster recovery and hazard mitigation projects in addition to our general scope of public sector management consulting.






A flood is defined as the inundation of land by the rise and overflow of a body of water.  Floods most commonly occur as a result of heavy rainfall causing a river system or stream to exceed its normal carrying capacity.  Flood events can also occur due to dam failure or from hurricane storm surge from a hurricane or tropical storm. Flooding is one of the most pervasive natural hazard threats, with public safety, housing, property, and infrastructure all potentially impacted by flooding.  Flooding consistently ranks as the costliest natural disaster in the United States.

There are two primary types of flooding: riverine flooding and flash floods.  Riverine flooding is a natural occurrence where a waterway exceeds its ‘bank full’ capacity and inundates the adjacent floodplain.  According to common usage, a floodplain is that area that is inundated by the 100-year flood (a flood that has a 1 percent chance in any given year of being equaled or exceeded).  Riverine flooding is affected by the intensity and distribution of rainfall, soil moisture, seasonal variation in vegetation, and water-resistance of the surface areas caused by urbanization.

Flash flooding is a localized flood that results from a short duration of intense rainfall across a limited geographic area.

Flood Announcement and Warning Definitions

Flood Potential Outlook (FPO): Announcement to alert the public of potentially heavy rainfall that could send rivers and streams into flood or aggravate an existing flood.
Flood Watch: Announcement to inform the public that current or developing conditions indicate a threat of flooding, but occurrence is neither certain nor imminent.
Flood Warning: An announcement by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along larger streams in which there is a serious threat to life or property. A flood warning will usually contain river stage forecasts.
Flood Statement: A statement issued by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along major streams in which there is not a serious threat to life or property. It may also follow a flood warning to give later information.
Flash Flood Watch: Announcement that current or developing conditions indicate potential flash flooding in the watch area, but occurrence is neither certain nor imminent.
Flash Flood Warning: Issued to inform the public that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely.
Flash Flood Statement: A statement by the NWS which provides follow-up information on flash flood watches and warnings.

Source: National Weather Service Flood Safety


Wildfire is uncontrolled fire spreading through vegetative fuels or forested areas, exposing and possibly consuming structures. Wildfires often begin unnoticed, spread quickly, and are usually signaled by dense smoke that fills the area for miles around.  Wildfires are caused through human acts such as arson or careless accidents, or through natural occurrences such as lightning.  Wildfire danger is exacerbated by dry weather conditions and excessive heat.  A significant proportion of forest fires are caused by arson or other careless acts by people.

The wildland-urban interface is an area in which development meets dense vegetation.  Both vegetation and the built environment provide fuel for fires.  The table below lists fire danger rating classifications as defined by the U.S. Forest Service.

U.S. Forest Service, Fire Danger Adjective Class Rating



fires not easily started Fuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands. Fires in open grassland may burn freely a few hours after rain, but wood fires spread slowly by smoldering and burn in irregular fingers. Low danger of spotting.


fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate Fires can start from most accidental causes. Fires in open cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Woods fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur. Fires are not likely to become serious and control is relatively easy.


fires start easily and spread at a rapid rate All fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes. Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. High intensity burning may develop on slopes or in concentrations of fuel. Fires may become serious and their control difficult, unless they are hit hard and fast while small.

Very High

fires start very easily and spread at a vary fast rate Fires start easily from all causes and immediately after ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Spot fires are a constant danger. Fires burning in light fuels may quickly develop high-intensity characteristics – such as long-distance spotting – and fire whirlwinds, when they burn into heavier fuels. Direct attack at the head of such fires is rarely possible after they have been burning more than a few minutes.


fire situation is explosive and can result in extensive property damage Fires start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious. Development into high-intensity burning will usually be faster and occur from smaller fires than in the Very High Danger class (4). Direct attack is rarely possible and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition. Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning condition lasts. Under these conditions, the only effective and safe control action is on the flanks, until the weather changes or the fuel supply lessens.

Source: U.S. Forest Service, Wildland Fire Assessment System


Hurricanes and tropical storms are types of tropical cyclones.  The basic difference between a hurricane and tropical storm is the intensity of the storm, measured by maximum sustained wind speed.  A hurricane has surface winds in excess of 74 miles per hour (64 knots).  The tropical storm has surface winds less than those of hurricanes, but greater than 39 miles per hour (34 knots).  For locations in the Northern Hemisphere, hurricanes and tropical storms are accompanied by a counterclockwise wind circulation near the earth’s surface.

A hurricane and tropical storm can be characterized by storm surges along a coast, high waves, severe winds, coastal erosion, extreme rainfall, thunderstorms, lightning, inland flooding, and the spawning of tornados and microbursts.  These typical cyclones will lose strength over land since their energy is derived from warm waters; however, damage from a hurricane and tropical storm can still be extremely destructive several hundred miles inland. Hurricane caused storm surge is an associated threat to Texas and other states along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a storm surge is “a dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds that can reach 25 feet high and be 50 – 1,000 miles wide.”  A simpler definition is a rise above the normal water level along a shore caused by strong onshore winds and/or reduced atmospheric pressure.

Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. The classification system for hurricanes is referred to as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale shown here.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale






Minimal: Damage is done primarily to shrubbery and trees, unanchored mobile homes are damaged, some signs are damaged, no real damage is done to structures.



Moderate: Some trees are toppled, some roof coverings are damaged, and major damage is done to mobile homes.



Extensive: Large trees are toppled, some structural damage is done to roofs, mobile homes are destroyed, and structural damage is done to small homes and utility buildings.



Extreme: Extensive damage is done to roofs, windows, and doors; roof systems on small buildings completely fail; some curtain walls fail.


> 155

Catastrophic: Roof damage is considerable and widespread, window and door damage is severe, there are extensive glass failures and entire buildings could fail.

Source: National Hurricane Center


Lightning is among the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazard in the United States, causing approximately 100 deaths and 500 injuries in the U.S. annually.  Lightning typically occurs as a by-product of a thunderstorm.  Then action of rising and descending air in the thunderstorm separates positive and negative charges, with lightning the result of the buildup and discharge of energy between positive and negative charge areas.  The hazard posed by lightning is underrated.  According to NOAA, an average of 20 million cloud-to-ground lighting flashes is detected every year in the continental United States.  About half of all flashes have more than one ground strike point, so at least 30 million points on the ground area struck in an average year.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes a tsunami as a series of ocean waves generated by sudden displacements in the sea floor, landslides, volcanic activity or other large, abrupt disturbance of the sea-surface.  Tsunamis have reached heights of more than 100 feet.  As the waves approach shallow coastal waters, they appear normal and the speed decreases.  If the disturbance is close to the coastline, tsunamis can demolish coastal communities within minutes, and a large disturbance can cause inundation and destruction thousands of miles away from its epicenter.  The following figure was developed by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, showing how tectonic plate movement in a marine environment can cause a tsunami.

Tsunami - How they occur.


An earthquake is a sudden motion or trembling of the earth caused by an abrupt release of stored energy in the rocks beneath the earth’s surface.  The energy released results in vibrations known as seismic waves that are responsible for the trembling and shaking of the ground during an earthquake.  Ground motion is expressed as peak ground acceleration (PGA, peak change in speed of ground surface horizontal motion during an earthquake).  PGA is expressed as a percent of gravity or “g”.

Earthquakes are typically described in terms of magnitude and intensity.  The traditional measurement of amplitude of the seismic wave through the assignment of a single number to quantify the amount of seismic energy released by an earthquake is the Richter scale.  The intensity of how strong the shock was felt at a particular location is the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale.  The scale quantifies the effects of an earthquake on the Earth’s surface, humans, objects of nature and man-made structures.  The table below is a combined earthquake magnitude and intensity comparison from the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquake Magnitude / Intensity Comparison

< 0.17 1.0 – 3.0 I.  Instrumental I. Not felt by many people unless in favorable conditions.
0.17 – 1.4 3.0 – 3.9 II. – III.


II. Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on building upper floors.

III. Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings. Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake.  Standing motorcars may rock slightly.  Vibrations similar to the passing of a truck.

1.4 – 9.2 4.0 – 4.9 IV. – V.

Moderate/Rather Strong

IV. Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the day.  At night, some awakened. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound.  Sensation like heavy truck striking building.  Parked cars rock noticeably.

V. Felt by nearly everyone: many awakened. Some dishes, windows broken. Unstable objects overturned.  Pendulum clocks may stop.

9.2 – 34 5.0 – 5.9 VI – VII

Strong/Very Strong

VI. Felt by all. Some heavy furniture moved. Damage slight.

VII. Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built of badly designed structures; some chimneys broken.

34 – 124 6.0 – 6.9 VIII – IX


VIII. Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse.  Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, and walls. Heavy furniture overturned.

IX. Damage considerable in specially designed structures; well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.

> 124 7.0 and higher X, XI and XII

Disastrous/Very Disastrous/


X. Some well-built wooden structures destroyed; most masonry and frame structures destroyed with foundations. Rails bent.

XI. Few if any (masonry) structures remain standing. Bridges destroyed.

XII. Damage total. Line of sight & level distorted. Objects thrown in the air.

Source: USGS, Earthquake Hazards Program


Landslide is a geologic phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfall, deep failure of slopes, and shallow debris flows.  Although gravity is the primary force for a landslide to occur, there are typically other contributing factors.  A change in the stability of a slope can be caused by a number of factors, acting together or alone. Natural causes of landslides include:

  • groundwater pressure acting to destabilize the slope
  • loss or absence of vegetation, root structure, soil structure
  • erosion or undercutting by river or ocean waves
  • heavy rain or snowmelt
  • freeze/thaw cycles
  • earthquakes
  • volcanic eruptions

Landslides can also be caused or aggravated by human activities including the following:

  • vibrations from machinery or traffic
  • blasting
  • earthwork which alters the shape of a slope, or imposes new loads on an existing slope
  • deforestation, cultivation, and road construction
  • removal of deep-rooted vegetation that binds colluvium to bedrock
  • activities which increase or concentrate amount of water infiltration into soil.

As experienced by the public, the most common impacts of landslides are roadway blockage, and less frequent damage to homes and structures.  Categories of impacts include threat to public safety, economic impacts created by traffic delays and detours; and environmental impacts related to increased sediment pollution of waterways.  Landslides usually occur with little or no warning and therefore during contributing conditions such as heavy rainfall in steep areas, curtailment of land altering activities should be considered.