Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Rare Tornadoes Hit Amsterdam, Luxembourg
EDM Monday Briefing: Rare Tornadoes Hit Amsterdam, Luxembourg

EDM Monday Briefing: Rare Tornadoes Hit Amsterdam, Luxembourg


Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 12, 2019: Severe storms spawn rare tornadoes in Amsterdam and Luxembourg; public infrastructure damage from recent storms and flooding passes $1.2 billion not including needed levee repairs; five children were killed in a daycare center fire in Pennsylvania; the FAA is investigating the Chicago Fire Department's Aviation Division at O'Hare and Midway Airports; ICE protestors in New York City shut down a major highway on Saturday; the Tennessee prison escapee wanted for the murder of a corrections officer has been captured; the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 37 people from a capsized fishing boat off Central America; and lightning sparked six wildfires in northern California last Thursday.

1) Severe storms slammed through Northern Europe on Friday and spawned two rare tornadoes -- one in Amsterdam and one in Luxembourg. No injuries were reported in Amsterdam, where wind gusts reached about 80 mph, although some damage did occur. In southwestern Luxembourg, a tornado ripped through the communities of Pettingen and Kaerjeng, injuring 19 people and causing extensive damage. The damage included the downing of power lines and the destruction of more than 100 homes.

2) Preliminary assessments of the public infrastructure damage in the United States in 2019 due to storms and flooding has been estimated to be around $1.2 billion across 24 states. According to reports, that excludes damages to levees along the Missouri River that are eligible for aid from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- damages that are estimated at another $1 billion. Damage estimates are likely to rise, however, since several states have not completed their assessments from recent disasters. Additional counties may be eligible in some states.

3) Five children are dead following a fire at a 24-hour daycare center in Erie, Pennsylvania, and the owner is listed in stable condition at the hospital. The fire, which caused major structural damage to the three-story home, broke out overnight at around 1:12 a.m. The blaze killed five children between the ages of eight months and seven years, four of whom were siblings. The cause of the blaze at the Harris Family Day Care Center, which was last inspected on December 28, is still under investigation.

4) The Chicago Fire Department and its Department of Aviation are under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. The investigation is focused on the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) units at O'Hare and Midway airports in regard to allegations that unqualified personnel were operating specialized aircraft firefighting units. The specialized units, referred to as crash tenders, are designed specifically for aircraft firefighting. They have forward-looking infrared cameras, high-reach extendable turrets with nozzles that can pierce the fuselage of an aircraft and enhanced driving systems, all of which require specialized training to operate.

5) Nearly 100 protestors were arrested for shutting down a major highway in New York City on Saturday. The incident occurred on the West Side Highway near 26th Street, allegedly because it was close to ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) offices. Protestors linked arms and sat down in the middle of the highway, halting traffic in both directions for about one hour.

6) The man who escaped from prison in Tennessee and allegedly killed a corrections officer, has been captured. Police were able to apprehend Curtis Watson without incident in a field about 10 miles from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary where he escaped from on August 7. Police received a tip on his whereabouts from a couple after they were alerted by their home security system of a breach at about 3:30 a.m. and allegedly viewed Watson going through their refrigerator.

7) The U.S. Coast Guard was inspecting a fishing boat off the coast of Central America when the boat began listing to its side and sinking. The Ecuadorian vessel, Marujita, was more than 330 miles south of Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean when the incident occurred, forcing Guardsmen to abandon the ship. Thirty-seven people had to be rescued from the capsized fishing vessel, including one who held onto a net and was hoisted from the water by a Coast Guard swimmer.

8) Lightning strikes sparked six wildfires in northern California last Thursday, including one that consumed 1,020 acres before it was fully contained. The W-1 McDonald Fire, located about 10 miles east of Madeline in Lassen County, was wind-driven and moved through juniper, brush, and high dessert grasses, including 800 acres of sage grouse habitat. A total of 109 personnel fought the wildfire, which was fully contained as of Sunday, August 11, at about 9:59 p.m.


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.