Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Tropical Storm Dorian Could be Hurricane by Tuesday
EDM Monday Briefing: Tropical Storm Dorian Could be Hurricane by Tuesday

EDM Monday Briefing: Tropical Storm Dorian Could be Hurricane by Tuesday

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 26, 2018: Tropical Storm Dorian has formed in the Atlantic Ocean; health officials in New York warn of toxic blue-green algae in area lakes and ponds; flash flooding in Missouri has closed roads and school districts; a reported gas explosion destroyed a building in Maryland early Sunday; a teenage boy drowned over the weekend in Missouri after he was swept away by floodwaters; three wildfires burning in the Mat-Su area of Alaska prompted the governor to issue a disaster declaration; evacuation orders remain in place for residents impacted by the McKinley wildfire in Alaska; and health officials in California warn that a teen from New Zealand infected with the measles visited various theme parks and tourist attractions in August.

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1) The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season now has its fourth named storm after Dorian formed over the weekend. According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Dorian became better organized overnight, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, and a central pressure of 1002 mb, or 29.59 inches of mercury, with a westward movement of 14 mph. Tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued for several of the eastern Caribbean islands, including Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Residents should remain alert to the storm intensifying into a hurricane.

2) New York City officials are warning children and pets to stay away from fresh-water ponds and lakes after tests confirmed the presence of toxic algae in at least two bodies of water. The tests revealed that Turtle Pond and Prospect Park Lake both contained dangerously high levels of the toxins -- the same toxic algae which has already reportedly killed several dogs in North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia. The toxins from the blue-green algae could cause eye and skin irritation, asthma-like symptoms or difficulty breathing, and if ingested, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and headache.

3) Heavy rains continue to fall across St. Louis County in Missouri, prompting officials to close roads and schools due to flash flooding. Route 141 at Interstate 44 was shut down early Monday morning due to flooding, and Highway TT was closed in both directions near Highway 94. Buses were unable to continue their routes and children were being returned home in one district. Flash floods prompted at least two other districts to cancel school due to impassable roads, while flash flood warnings remained in effect for St. Louis County until at least mid-morning.

4) A reported gas explosion in Columbia, Maryland, early Sunday morning partly destroyed a building and sent shock waves through a community at least a mile away. No businesses were open when emergency officials in Howard County responded to a report of a gas leak around 7:30 a.m., where they were able to secure a perimeter before an explosion occurred just before 8:00 a.m. According to first responders, gas was leaking out of a parking lot crater measuring 10 feet in length and several inches in width; the cause of the blast is still under investigation.

5) Heavy rainfall led to flash flooding in Joplin, Missouri, on Saturday, where a 13-year-old boy drowned. John D. Wheeler was reportedly walking near a drainage ditch when he fell in and the swift-moving water current swept him away. Wheeler was later found near a bridge and pulled from the water by officers, who performed life-saving measures, but Wheeler was pronounced dead at the hospital.

6) The governor of Alaska has issued a disaster declaration for south-central wildfires that have impacted multiple communities. The McKinley, Deshka Landing and Swan Lake wildfires have been burning large swaths of land in the Matanuska-Susitna area. The blazes have prompted evacuations and road closures, along with air quality alerts, due to heavy, dense smoke. The three blazes have scorched a total of over 153,000 acres, with the Swan Lake wildfire being the largest and longest-burning fire. This blaze was ignited by lightning on June 5, burning a total of 148,329 acres, and is only 20 percent contained.

7) Evacuation orders remain in effect for the McKinley wildfire, which began on August 17. It has already destroyed 51 primary residences, three commercial structures and 84 outbuildings. There are 449 personnel assigned to the wildfire, which is being managed by an Alaska Incident Management Team. The wildfire has burned 3,332 acres and was only 46 percent contained as of Sunday evening, with drought conditions exacerbating fire fighting and control efforts.

8) Health officials in California are warning guests who visited theme parks and other tourist attractions in the Los Angeles area that they may have been exposed to the measles. A teen from New Zealand who was infected with the measles visited California from August 11-15, and went to many popular tourist sites including Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Universal Studios, among others. Officials are warning that anyone who visited the various tourist locations where the teen went may have been exposed to the measles, a highly contagious virus which can remain viable for several hours in the environment.

 

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.