Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Strong Earthquake Hits Southern California; Barges Moving Again on the Mississippi
EDM Friday Briefing: Strong Earthquake Hits Southern California; Barges Moving Again on the Mississippi

EDM Friday Briefing: Strong Earthquake Hits Southern California; Barges Moving Again on the Mississippi


Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 5, 2019: A volcanic eruption on an Italian island kills one person; a plane makes an emergency landing in Boston after fire broke out in the cabin; Southern California was rocked by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Thursday; after weeks of flooding, locks are reopened and barges are moving along the Mississippi River, albeit slowly; a scenic narrow-gauge railroad in Colorado faces lawsuits over a wildfire near Durango; the USGS has increased the alert level for the Mauna Loa volcano; seven Americans are dead after a helicopter crash in the Bahamas; and the CDC says a recent salmonella outbreak may be linked to pig ear treats for dogs.

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1) One person was killed and another injured when a volcano erupted on Stromboli, a popular Italian island tourist destination. The eruption sent a plume of grey smoke and ash into the air, releasing hot magma and causing lava flows that were seen pouring down the side of the volcano. The eruption enveloped the small island in ash, sent tourists running into the Mediterranean Sea for safety and sparked wildfires on the western side of the island.

2) A Virgin Atlantic flight bound for London was forced to make an emergency landing in Boston -- the second emergency landing at the same airport that day. Flight #138, with 217 passengers on board, departed New York and was headed to London's Heathrow Airport when a fire on the aircraft forced the plane to make an emergency landing at Boston's Logan International Airport. Preliminary information indicates that the fire began when a phone charger ignited in a passenger seat.

3) A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Southern California Thursday, and more than 150 aftershocks were felt across the region with the largest aftershock being a 4.6 magnitude. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Ridgecrest, a community of about 28,000 residents located about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. The quake prompted the city to declare a state of emergency after the strong shaking cut power, sparked fires and broke gas lines. The earthquake, which had a depth of about 6.6 miles, was felt from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

4) Unprecedented rainfall, along with spring snowmelt, resulted in weeks of flooding along the Mississippi River. However, water levels are finally beginning to recede, improving conditions on inland waterways. Flood conditions also closed locks and halted barge movements along the River for weeks, but receding water levels have allowed all but one lock to reopen, the Costello Lock and Dam, in Modoc, Illinois. Despite all but the one lock now being open, barge movement is still sluggish, but it is improving according to recent reports.

5) Federal investigators determined that a scenic railroad in Colorado threw cinders or hot material onto brush next to the track, sparking one of the largest wildfires in state history. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and American Heritage Railways has operated continuously for 130 years. It is now facing lawsuits for the wildfire that scorched about 54,400 acres, prompted evacuations and cost about $25 million in damages. The fire, which began on June 1, 2018, was considered controlled in July. However, it took firefighters until November to put out the fire that largely burned in the San Juan National Forest.

6) The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recently raised the alert level for the Mauna Loa volcano to YELLOW/ADVISORY. The alert level has been changed due to a recent uptick in activity in the volcano, which is in the near vicinity of the recently active Kilauea volcano. Surface deformation and seismic activity at the shield volcano prompted the USGS to increase the alert level, after 50 small-magnitude earthquakes were recorded in three areas in and around the volcano.

7) Seven people are dead following a helicopter crash in the Bahamas on Thursday. The helicopter departed Grand Cay and was bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when it crashed shortly after takeoff about two miles off the coast of Grand Cay. According to Bahamian officials, the three women and four men on board were Americans, and the bodies were being transported to Freeport, Grand Bahamas' main city.

8) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that a recent salmonella outbreak may be linked to pig ear treats for dogs. The salmonella strain involved in the outbreak has infected 45 people across 13 states, 12 of which have required hospitalization. The particular strain identified is resistant to antibiotics. Tests conducted by the CDC of the salmonella bacteria extracted from infected people show close genetic relations, likely linking the outbreak to a common source of infection.


Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.