Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Heavy Rains Cause Tennessee Flooding and Rockslide
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Heavy Rains Cause Tennessee Flooding and Rockslide

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Heavy Rains Cause Tennessee Flooding and Rockslide


Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 12, 2020: The death toll from the novel coronavirus has now surpassed 1,100; heavy rains have led to widespread flooding, the threat of dam failures and a hillside collapse outside a popular town in Tennessee; NOAA reported a total of 14 disasters in 2019 that exceeded $1 billion in damages; a high-speed rail line meant to boost transportation infrastructure in the UK is sparking controversy over its environmental impacts and ballooning costs; the quarantine ended Tuesday for the 195 Americans that were evacuated from China; the Ohio State Patrol released a disturbing video of what happened to children on a school bus during a crash last December; and the gunman who shot two police officers in separate ambush shootings in New York City this past weekend, vows to shoot more officers once he is released.

Start an Emergency & Disaster Management degree at American Military University.

1) There were 2,015 newly diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus reported in China as of Tuesday, with an additional 97 reported deaths. The recent deaths bump the death toll to 1,113 people, the majority of which have died in the Hubei Province in China where the outbreak began. An additional 39 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked just off the coast of Japan, adding to the previously reported 136 cases on Monday.

2) Heavy rains across the south have led to widespread flooding, the threat of dam failures and a hillside collapse outside a popular town in Tennessee. A 70-foot rockslide that occurred early Tuesday on the northbound side of the US 441 spur that links the tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge completely blocked the roadway. However, the road has since reopened. In Yazoo County, Mississippi, a leaking earthen dam was being monitored, while a levee breach in Leake led to homes being evacuated.

3) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the United States had 14 disasters in 2019 where losses exceeded $1 billion dollars. The disaster events included eight severe storms, three floods, two tropical storms, and one wildfire, with a total death toll of 44 people. 2019 marks the fifth consecutive year in which there have been 10 or more disasters with losses that have exceeded $1 billion dollars.

4) A high-speed rail line that the government believes is critical to its infrastructure is sparking controversy in the United Kingdom, due to its potential environmental impacts and ballooning costs. Known as HS2, the rail line will connect London to Birmingham in the initial phase, using trains capable of speeds of up to 250 mph, allegedly boosting the nation's economy. Controversy has occurred over the proposed path of the rail line, which allegedly will pass through ancient woodlands, nature reserves, and an alleged 700 classified wildlife sites.

5) The quarantine for the 195 people who were evacuated from Wuhan to California has ended. The evacuated people, held in quarantine for 14 days, were released on Tuesday and cleared to return to their homes. The majority of those held were U.S. diplomats and their families, and none of the quarantined people developed symptoms or tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

6) New video released by the Ohio State Patrol on Monday regarding a school bus crash in Perry County last December shows what happened to children onboard the bus when it rolled over. The disturbing images show children flying through the air, hitting the ceiling and then slamming into side windows before landing on each other. The accident sent eight students and the bus driver to a local hospital with injuries. A total of 25 students were on board the bus last December 19, when it rolled over after a man with a suspended driver's license ran a red light and collided with the bus.

7) Two counties in Colorado have now designated their 911 dispatchers as first responders -- permitting them to receive workers compensation and pension benefits. Arapahoe and Pitkin counties voted to recognize 911 dispatchers as first responders after county commissioners got tired of waiting for the 911 Saves Act currently stalled in Congress. Several other counties in the state have already made the change, prompting the two counties to follow suit. The designation gives 911 dispatchers the same benefits as sheriff's deputies, firefighters and paramedics.

8) The man who was arrested for an ambush shooting of two New York City police officers in separate attempts this past weekend, has vowed to shoot more law enforcement officers once he is released from custody. During his arraignment, the gunman, Robert Williams, 44, allegedly admitted to the separate shootings, saying he did it because he was tired of police. Williams, who was charged with 14 counts of attempted murder in connection with the two attacks, was previously convicted of attempted murder following a 2002 shootout with police.


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.