Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Shuts Off Power to Thousands Amid Red Flag Warning
EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Shuts Off Power to Thousands Amid Red Flag Warning

EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Shuts Off Power to Thousands Amid Red Flag Warning


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 25, 2019: Tropical Storm Karen moves north away from Puerto Rico, but lingering heavy rainfalls could trigger flash floods; a school collapse in Kenya killed 7 children and injured at least 64 others; Zimbabwe officials shut down the main water treatment plant amid the nation's widespread and ongoing drought; Lorenzo becomes the fifth Atlantic hurricane of the season; NCDMPH offers a free online disaster recovery training resource for public health agencies; PG&E shuts off power to thousands of residents amid a red flag warning in Northern California; the recall has been expanded again for the blood pressure medication Losartan; and a strong earthquake killed at least 22 and injured more than 700 in Pakistan.

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1) Rains from Tropical Storm Karen that produce flash flooding are expected to continue today over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, although all tropical storm watches and warnings have been discontinued for the islands. Locally, heavy rainfall is also likely to produce mudslides, especially in mountainous areas, and some flooding has already occurred in southeastern Puerto Rico. Karen is moving toward the north at about 14 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1003, or 29.62 inches of mercury, with some strengthening occurring.

2) Seven children were killed and dozens more injured when a school collapsed in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday morning. According to reports, 64 students were injured, including two children who sustained critical injuries. The incident occurred at The Precious Talent Top School, in an allegedly poor neighborhood, just after 7:00 a.m. local time. Substandard construction practices along with poor government regulations are being blamed for the collapse.

3) Government officials in Zimbabwe have shut down the main water treatment plant, cutting off water supplies to more than two million people in the region. The shutdown comes amid economic instability, drought and the nation's worst cholera outbreak in 10 years. Water treatment chemicals are needed, but officials have not been able to raise the $2.7 million in foreign currency needed to acquire the necessary chemicals. Residents have been forced to seek other, often unsafe water supplies, including water from shallow wells.

4) Lorenzo became the fifth Atlantic hurricane of the season early Wednesday and is expected to become a major hurricane by Thursday. With a minimum central pressure of 988 (29.18) and maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, Hurricane Lorenzo is forecast to continue strengthening into a major hurricane. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting the storm to move to the west-northwestward, with an eventual turn toward the north, likely keeping it out to sea.

5) The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) has a free online disaster recovery training resource that uses the "train the trainer" approach. The Public Health System Training in Disaster Recovery is available for free to members of public health agencies interested in strengthening their role in community disaster recovery efforts. Four 90-minute training modules cover basic concepts in disaster recovery, worker roles, and what a successful recovery in their agency and community might look like, as well as common personal, family, and work issues that are likely to occur.

6) PG&E has opted to shut off power on Wednesday to at least 700 Sonoma County residents to reduce the risk of wildfires in the area. The shutoff was to take effect around 4:30 a.m. local time. Another 700 residents of Napa County, along with nearly 47,000 other customers in Butte, Placer, Plumas, Nevada, and Yuba counties were also expected to have their power shut off Wednesday. The shutdowns were prompted by a red flag warning that has been in effect for much of Northern California due to critical fire weather conditions.

7) The recall for the blood pressure medication Losartan has again been expanded by the manufacturer. Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited voluntarily expanded the recall to include three additional lots of its Losartan Potassium Tablets USP and two lots of the Losartan Postassium/hydrochlorothyazide tablets. This is the fifth expansion of the medication recall due to a potential human carcinogenic ingredient that has been detected in the medication -- N-Methylnitrosobutyric (NMBA).

8) A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck the northern region of Kashmir in Pakistan at around 4:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The strong quake collapsed homes and other buildings and caused roads to buckle and crack, disrupting public transportation and causing multiple accidents. According to reports, at least 22 people were killed -- the majority of them women and children -- with another 700 people injured.


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.