Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: National Weather Service Rolling Out New Flood Warning System
EDM Wednesday Briefing: National Weather Service Rolling Out New Flood Warning System

EDM Wednesday Briefing: National Weather Service Rolling Out New Flood Warning System


Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 17, 2019: The NWS is rolling out a new flood warning system to help increase accuracy and ensure public compliance; narrow streets create nearly insurmountable obstacles for rescuers when another building collapsed in Mumbai and killed at least 13 people; monsoon rains have caused catastrophic flooding that has killed at least 100 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh; storm surge inundation models were critical in assisting pre-staging for flooding assistance efforts ahead of Hurricane Barry; remnants from Barry are set to produce heavy rainfall and severe weather after mixing with a frontal system; a patient has died from Ebola in the first urban location since the DRC's Ebola outbreak began; a seaplane crashed in a lake in Labrador, Canada, killing three and leaving four others missing; and the WHO's emergency committee of international experts met for the fourth time to determine if a PHEIC should be declared due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

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1) The National Weather Service (NWS) will be rolling out a new flood warning system that aims to get the largest number of people to comply during disasters in the safest manner possible. According to experts, flooding is the top weather-related killer in the United States, and the majority of deaths occur due to people choosing to drive into and through floodwaters. The new warning system will be impact-based and fall into three categories -- base, considerable, and catastrophic. It is set to be rolled out in September.

2) A building collapse in the financial district of Mumbai, India, has killed 13 people, injured at least 10 and trapped numerous others beneath the rubble. The second building to collapse in Mumbai in 10 days, the decades-old structure housed about 15 families among its four floors. A human chain of firefighters, municipal workers, and local volunteers were used to send rescue supplies in and carry out the dead and injured, because the street is too narrow for rescue vehicles to fit through.

3) Torrential monsoon rains have forced over four million people from their homes in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The flooding has killed at least 100 people, including 64 in Nepal who died when landslides swept away their homes. The poorest states in India -- Assam and Bihar -- have been the hardest hit, with roadways and rail lines being submerged in brown, churning floodwater. Four people drowned in Assam, and at least 190,000 were displaced from their homes in Bangladesh due to the monsoon flooding.

4) Local officials in Louisiana parishes are blaming intergovernmental red tape for leaving cities unprotected as levees were overtopped when Hurricane Barry moved through the area. According to reports, levee construction projects bogged down in red tape prevented their completion and also prevented the hurricane protection system from being turned over to state officials. Storm surge inundation models were critical in assisting local emergency management officials in determining which levees might overtop, allowing for more accurate pre-staging of flood-fighting equipment and assets, including National Guard resources.

5) Southwestern Arkansas was inundated with about 16 inches of rain from slow-moving remnants of Barry as it moved through the area. Seven states are now under a flash flood alert as Barry remnants are set to mix with a frontal system which is forecast to produce more severe storms, heavier rainfalls and flooding. Damaging winds, large hail and the chance of a tornado are also threats to the Plains, the Upper Midwest and the Northeast later in the day from the combined systems.

6) The first Ebola patient has died in Goma, the largest eastern city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is along the border of Rwanda. Fears that the second deadliest outbreak of Ebola could spread more widely have been sparked by the spread of the disease to Goma, although half of those identified who came in contact with the patient have already been vaccinated. Goma is situated about 220 miles southeast of where the current Ebola outbreak -- which has killed almost 1,700 people -- was first detected about a year ago.

7) A De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver seaplane crashed in Labrador, Canada, on Monday with seven passengers on board. The crash was located early Tuesday morning in Mistastin Lake in northern Labrador by a Canadian military Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) search and rescue crew operating a C-130 Hercules aircraft. Three of the seven passengers, including the pilot, have been confirmed dead. Search efforts continue for the four remaining passengers who are still missing.

8) The World Health Organization's emergency committee of international experts met for the fourth time to determine if a "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC) should be declared after the recent deaths of two patients. One patient died in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and another patient  traveled to Uganda to sell fish, then returned to the DRC where she died on July 11. According to WHO officials, the death in Goma is concerning because it would mark the spread to an urban population for the first time since the outbreak began last year. WHO officials are cautious about issuing a PHEIC declaration as it could result in potential economic harm, while achieving little else. Such a declaration could unlock funds, which are desperately needed to combat the ongoing Ebola outbreak.


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.