Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 29, 2018: Harris County, Texas approves measure to provide funding for flood control projects in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a single lot of the blood pressure medication Hydrochlorothiazide has been recalled due to potential mislabeling, a crude oil storage tank caught fire in Texas prompting the evacuation of the entire plant in Wichita Falls, scientists have identified a sixth Ebola virus but are not yet sure of its impact to humans, the death toll from Hurricane Maria was raised to nearly 3,000 by Puerto Rico's governor following study findings, a scaffolding collapse near the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida leaves two workers dead, a recent report prompts swift action by the U.S. Army to test military housing for toxic lead levels, and extreme heat is still a threat to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic as heat advisories and warnings remain in effect at least through Thursday.
- Voters in Harris County, Texas, home to the city of Houston--which was inundated with flood waters in 2017 by Hurricane Harvey--voted 85-15 to approve $2.5 billion in bonds to help finance flood control projects. The projects will begin in 2020 and will include mapping floodplains, voluntary buyouts for homeowners living on floodplains, the repair of watersheds--such as the Addicks and Barker reservoirs--and improving early flood warning systems. Hurricane Harvey produced the largest rain event in modern U.S. history, killed at least 75 people, and cost $125 billion in damages.
- A fire broke out in a crude oil storage tank east of Wichita Falls, Texas on Tuesday, causing the evacuation of dozens of workers from the plant. The fire, which occurred at the Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., began while workers were replacing a vapor seal on the tank and the crude oil ignited. Nearly 50 firefighters, including mutual aid assistance from the Sheppard Air Force Base Fire Department and other agencies, worked to extinguish the fire and reduce the environmental impact.
- Scientists have now discovered a sixth species of the Ebola virus that was previously unknown, the Bombali virus. The virus has so far been found to be carried by at least two species of bats in Sierra Leone and is the first Ebola virus species to be detected in an animal before being detected in humans. Scientists who found the species point out that it is still unclear if the new Bombali virus species will cause the severe and often fatal illness in humans attributed to four of the five already known Ebola virus species.
- Puerto Rico's governor raised the death toll of Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975--after a new study declared deaths resulting from the storm were under reported. Researchers counted deaths across a much longer time span than is usually used--six months--due to the amount of time people remained without power after the storm. According to Gov. Ricardo Rossello, the island never anticipated a situation where they would have "zero communication, zero energy, zero highway access" and indicated better preparation for the future would occur by anticipating the worst case scenario.
- A scaffolding collapse early Wednesday at a hotel under construction, nearby the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, has killed two workers and caused minor injuries to a third worker. A third worker was able to hold on and climb to safety when the collapse occurred that sent his two coworkers plunging seven stories to their deaths. It is unknown at this time what caused the scaffolding to collapse at the site of the future JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek, and officials stated that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will be investigating the incident.
- A single lot of the blood pressure medication, Hydrochlorothiazide (HCL) USP 12.5 mg, from Accord Healthcare, Inc. was recalled, PW05264, after a bottle in the lot was found to contain Spironolactone-instead of the blood pressure medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that the recall of the specific lot of blood pressure medication is due to possible mislabeling. The mixing of medications can be potentially life-threatening and anyone with this lot of HCL should contact their doctor or pharmacist.
- A recent report that showed children in military housing were at risk of lead poisoning has prompted the swift action by the U.S. Army as it rapidly devised a plan to test for toxic lead hazards. The inspection plan would be implemented quickly and target 40,000, pre-1978 homes to identify deteriorating lead-based paint, leaded-dust, and water and soil contamination. The report was initiated after findings from recent years showed that 1,050 small children had tested high for lead at military base clinics--and the results were not always being reported to state health authorities.
- Extreme heat is still in the forecast for much of the East Coast until Friday, with temperatures remaining in the mid-to-high nineties amid heat advisories and warnings. As a cold front begins its trek from the Midwest to the Northeast on Wednesday, it will help trigger showers and thunderstorms that will be capable of producing damaging winds, large hail, and heavy rainfall along its path. That same cold front will bring relief to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, cooling temperatures down to the upper seventies and eighties.
Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday gave the green light to 16 new flood control projects, three days after voters overwhelmingly approved a $2.5 billion bond aimed at boosting the region's protections against future flood https://t.co/OenJrRp0tz via @HoustonChron
— HOUmanitarian (@HOUmanitarian) August 29, 2018
— EnergyNow.com (@US_EnergyNow) August 29, 2018
— HealthThoroughFare (@HealthThorough) August 28, 2018
Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico raises official death toll from 64 to 2,975 https://t.co/K2RWsPg4tN
— Virginia Bemis (@VirginiaBemis) August 29, 2018
FL SCAFFOLDING COLLAPSE- AERIALS WED0069 - Emergency responders said two construction workers fell to their deaths early Wed when scaffolding collapsed at a hotel under construction near Disney World in Orlando, Florida. A third worker managed to hang on and climb to safety. pic.twitter.com/6VPBFos5Mb
— CBS Newspath (@cbsnewspath) August 29, 2018
— FOX 8 New Orleans (@FOX8NOLA) August 29, 2018
U.S. Army drafted a plan to test for #toxic #lead in 40,000 homes on its bases in a sweeping response to a Reuters report that found #children at risk of lead poisoning in #military housing. https://t.co/Pr9ZeQI77c
— Terry Hansen (@hanster55) August 28, 2018
Forecast: Extreme heat and humidity makes it feel over 100 degrees https://t.co/bXdHIZS7YS
— Michelle Brown (@MichelleBNews12) August 29, 2018