EDM Monday Briefing: NHC Eyes Gulf Disturbance on First Day of 2020 Hurricane Season
Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 1, 2020: Protests escalate into violence again in major cities across the nation; June 1 marks the first official day of the 2020 hurricane season as the NHC eyes Invest 93L in the Gulf of Mexico; residents remain under evacuation orders as the Ocotillo Fire remains dangerously hot; history was made on Saturday when the SpaceX Crew Dragon launched into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; emergency management officials list the top three actions for family preparedness; 48 hours of abundant lightning sparked multiple fires, including the Sawtooth Wildfire near Phoenix; a suspect who fired shots at an apartment complex in Albuquerque was arrested peacefully; and FEMA releases a guidebook for COVID-19 considerations during the 2020 hurricane season.
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1) The riots, fires and violence escalated again Sunday night in major cities across the nation after rioters hijacked what had been peaceful protests. The protests were being held in response to the death of George Floyd on Monday by a Minneapolis police officer. Twelve states and Washington, DC, have activated the National Guard to help stop the violence.
2) Today is the first day of the 2020 hurricane season, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is now watching 93L, a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico. The disturbance is from the remnants of Tropical Storm Amanda that formed early Sunday in the Pacific, just before it made landfall in Guatemala. The disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico has a high chance of development over the next 48 hours — at least 80 percent.
3) Evacuations were ordered for at least 500 residences in the path of the Ocotillo Fire that continues to burn near Cave Creek, Arizona — about 10 miles north of Phoenix — on Saturday. As of Sunday, those evacuation orders remained in place as the interior of the fire remained dangerously hot, and afternoon weather conditions called for increased winds and extremely low humidity. As of Sunday evening, the fire had destroyed at least 10 structures, burned nearly 1,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained.
4) History was made on Saturday as the SpaceX Crew Dragon successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch marked the first time in nine years that the United States put a crew in space and the first time a commercial company has launched astronauts into space. Both veteran astronauts who launched in the SpaceX Crew Dragon are now safely aboard the International Space Station after 19 hours of travel.
5) Preparing for any type of emergency or disaster is key to ensuring family and personal safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many people to take measures that helped ensure they are self-sufficient in the future, including developing home disinfecting stations and planting vegetable patches or container gardens. The new awareness of the potential for disruptions in critical infrastructure services also means that people now must act responsibly and be prepared for all types of disasters. Emergency management officials have listed the following as the top three actions needed: have a family emergency plan in place, sign up for alert notifications and assemble essentials (go kits/emergency supplies) in one place.
6) Beginning last Friday and lasting for a period of about 48 hours, abundant lightning in the western United States sparked multiple new wildfires, including two new large fires — one in Arizona and one in Colorado. The Sawtooth Fire, a large fire burning in the Phoenix area that was sparked by the recent lightning, has scorched 3,500 acres and is only five percent contained. The blaze is burning in the Superstitious Wilderness area of the Tonto National Forest amid heavy, dry brush and grasses, with hot and dry temperatures forecast for Monday.
7) A man who randomly fired shots at four people in an Albuquerque apartment complex on Sunday has been arrested. SWAT was called to the scene after the suspect fired on police who had arrived at the apartment complex after receiving calls about shots being fired. An hours-long standoff ended without incident when the man surrendered peacefully to police.
8) The start of the 2020 hurricane season collides with the ongoing response to COVID-19, prompting states to rethink emergency plans. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season offering emergency planners assistance to help ensure public safety from all aspects. Guidance includes the suggested use of hotels, motels, and dorm rooms for shelters to maintain social distancing, the inclusion of health screening for shelter evacuees, and providing sanitizing stations in shelter locations.