Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Southern Plains States Reel after Severe Weather Causes Widespread Damage and Flooding
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Southern Plains States Reel after Severe Weather Causes Widespread Damage and Flooding

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Southern Plains States Reel after Severe Weather Causes Widespread Damage and Flooding


Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 22, 2019: Measles cases rise 4.9 percent as two more states join the growing list of states with confirmed cases; severe weather across the Southern Plains spawned multiple tornadoes, shut down airports, and prompted flash flood watches and warnings on Wednesday for several states; police in Alabama have apprehended the suspect who shot and killed one officer and wounded two others last Sunday night; severe weather spawned damaging tornadoes in Mangum and near the Tulsa International Airport which interrupted also flights; China's three main air carriers are seeking compensation for losses from Boeing after grounding their 737-MAX aircraft; weather-related conditions in Texas caused a roller coaster to become stuck and trap 12 children; the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta issued an advisory to citizens to avoid public gathering locations in Indonesia; and a $41.5 billion, six-year plan meant to fix the state's crumbling critical infrastructure was introduced by the governor of Illinois on Friday.

1) Federal health officials stated on Monday that the number of measles cases has risen by 41 cases to a total of 880, a 4.9 percent increase from May 10 to May 17, and has spread to two more states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Monday that Oklahoma joined the list of states with confirmed measles cases, followed by Maine, who became the 25th state in the growing list. Maine, which has not had a confirmed case of the measles in two years, joined the growing number of states who have reported measles with a single confirmed case.

2) Severe weather swept through the Southern Plains on Monday and Tuesday, spawning 56 reported tornadoes. The tornadoes left three people dead and caused widespread flooding in several states, including Oklahoma, which received a reported nine inches of rain. In the wake of the storms, flash flood watches and warnings are in effect throughout several states that include Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri as of Wednesday. Officials caution residents to be on alert for rapidly rising water levels due to heavy rainfalls. On Tuesday evening, the airport in St. Louis was shut down briefly by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a severe storm swept through the area and tornado warnings were issued.

3) The suspect who shot and killed one officer and wounded two others as they responded to a call for a domestic disturbance on Sunday night in Auburn, Alabama, was apprehended by police, easing a community that was on edge. The suspect, Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, who served in the military and was dressed in military garb, opened fire on the officers when they responded to the home. Wilkes shot and killed 13-year veteran of the force William Buechner and wounded two other officers. Police are still searching for a motive for the shooting.

4) A tornado swept through Mangum, Oklahoma on Monday, damaging the roofs of homes in one community, along with destroying an agriculture barn at the high school. No one was injured by the tornado, one of many that occurred throughout the Southern Plains on Monday and Tuesday as severe weather moved across the region. Minor damage was incurred near the Tulsa International Airport in Oklahoma, prompting a temporary halt to all inbound and outbound aircraft after a tornado touched down near there early on Tuesday morning. Widespread power outages also occurred as high winds, heavy rainfall, and hail were reported across much of the region, which was impacted by the strong storms that have spawned at least three dozen tornadoes since Monday night.

5) Boeing is being asked for compensation by China's three largest carriers after the grounding of the 737-MAX aircraft following two fatal crashes just six months apart of the same airplane type for similar issues. The three airlines seeking compensation include China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd., and Air China Ltd. China was the first country to ground the aircraft after the latest crash, and the request comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and China over trade tariffs.

6) Children visiting an amusement park in Texas were trapped on a roller coaster after it became stuck due to weather-related conditions. The Amarillo Fire Department was called to the Wonderland Amusement Park on Tuesday morning to rescue 12 children trapped in cars after workers' attempts to get the roller coaster moving did not work. Firefighters, assisted by workers from the park, used a cherry picker to safely rescue all 12 children from the coaster cars without incident or injury.

7) The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta issued an advisory to citizens to avoid public areas in locations throughout the nation, where large demonstrations may occur. Security in Indonesia has been heightened ahead of the announcement of the election results from last month and after arrests of individuals linked to Islamic State groups in the country, along with the seizure of at least five homemade bombs from various locations. The bombs allegedly could be detonated by a Wi-Fi signal, a relatively new technique, although how advanced their plans were is not known.

8) The governor of Illinois is seeking $41.5 billion in a plan to fix the state's crumbling critical infrastructure. The plan, which was proposed Friday to lawmakers, seeks to rebuild roads, bridges, schools, and other critical infrastructure that have fallen into disrepair and have been rated poorly on the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) recent Infrastructure Report Card. According to their recent ratings, navigable waterways in Illinois were rated at a D- (poor, almost failing), followed by roads and transit at a D (poor), drinking water, ports, and wastewater at a C- (mediocre close to poor), with bridges and dams at a C (mediocre).


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.