Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Heat Wave Grips East Coast
EDM Monday Briefing: Heat Wave Grips East Coast

EDM Monday Briefing: Heat Wave Grips East Coast


Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 22, 2019: Severe storms knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in Michigan; New York City grappled with power outages amid a heat wave that sent temperatures soaring into the triple digits; a BSO deputy in Florida died in a vehicle crash while en route to a call; Universal Orlando temporarily shut down its parking garages after the alleged sighting of an armed man; the CDC has confirmed two deaths in the ongoing salmonella outbreak; one man is in critical condition after eight people were struck by lightning in Clearwater Beach, Florida; wildfires in central Portugal injured eight firefighters and 12 civilians and prompted evacuations; severe weather is possible from the Appalachians to the Northeast through Monday night, including gusty winds, damaging hail, and isolated tornadoes.

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1) Hundreds of thousands of customers lost power during strong storms that swept through Michigan over the course of two days. Detroit-based DTE Energy noted the severe weather downed more than 2,000 lines in the area, and it would likely be Wednesday before service would be restored to all customers. Another utility company based in Jackson, Consumers Energy, stated that more than 2,600 lines had gone down. That outage left 220,000 customers without power, which Consumers Energy hoped to have restored by Tuesday.

2) Power outages also rolled through New York City, largely impacting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, amid a major heatwave that gripped states all along the East Coast from the Carolinas to Maine. The mayor of New York City declared a state of emergency as temperatures soared into the triple digits, that coupled with high humidity, felt like 110 degrees Fahrenheit in some locations. Businesses across the city were directed to set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit in order to help reduce strain on the electrical grid amid the soaring temperatures.

3) A Broward County Sheriff's deputy died in a motor vehicle crash early Sunday morning in Deerfield Beach, Florida, while en route to a domestic violence call. The crash occurred near Military Trail and SW 10th Street when the deputy's SUV collided with a Toyota Tundra pickup truck. The deputy was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, and the accident is being investigated by traffic homicide detectives.

4) A major theme park in Orlando temporarily evacuated their parking garages Saturday night after reports of a man with a gun. Allegedly, a traveler on Interstate 4 called police and reported seeing a man with a rifle in the parking structure at the Universal Orlando Resort. Via social media, park guests stated that little information was available from Universal regarding the ongoing incident, and they were stuck waiting until local police and security officers gave them the all-clear to leave.

5) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed two deaths linked to the ongoing, multi-state salmonella outbreak. One death was reported in Ohio, while the other death occurred in Texas. Another 489 victims have been sickened since the CDC's last update in June. The salmonella outbreak has been linked to backyard poultry, with the total number of people infected rising to 768 cases across 48 states since the outbreak began.

6) Eight people were struck by lightning in Clearwater Beach, Florida on Sunday, including one person who is in critical condition after suffering a direct hit. The lightning struck a man in his 40s, sending him into cardiac arrest, and injured seven others, including one person who suffered burns. According to reports, lightning struck the individuals while they were on the beach near Frenchy's Rockaway Grill during an approaching thunderstorm at around 12:45 p.m.

7) Eight firefighters and 12 civilians were injured in Portugal on Sunday as wildfires raged out of control in the central part of the country. The blaze, which began on Saturday in the rural mountainous Castelo Branco area, 120 miles northeast of Lisbon, forced the evacuation of residents. About 2,000 firefighters, along with military personnel and bulldozers, were sent to help fight the wildfire. Increasingly strong winds coupled with high temperatures made it difficult for firefighters to combat the blaze. Another six regions have been placed on maximum fire alert due to critical fire weather conditions.

8) Strong storms, coupled with heavy rainfall, are likely from the Appalachians to the Northeast through Monday night as a cold front slices through a humid air mass in place over the whole region. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's (NOAA) Weather Prediction Center stated that some areas are at a moderate risk of flooding/flash floods, and some roadway flooding has already been reported in St. Louis. The storms could turn severe, prompting gusty, high winds, and damaging hail. Weather forecasters are not ruling out the possibility of an isolated tornado, and officials are encouraging everyone to remain alert to changing weather conditions.


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.