EDM Wednesday Briefing: California Governor Declares State of Emergency for Mariposa County
Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 19, 2017: A state of emergency has been declared for Mariposa County, California due to a raging wildfire, Tropical Storm Don is downgraded on its move westward, tsunami warnings were issued following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck between Alaska and Russia, Hurricane Fernanda has been downgraded to a Category 1, a 10-year-old boys' overdose death from fentanyl makes him Florida's youngest victim of opioid crisis, a search for the victim of a flash flood in Arizona enters its fourth day, Hungary halts all international trains following a bomb threat, and health officials issue a warning after a measles-infected out-of-town guest visits a popular beach.
- Steep terrain and plenty of fuel from dense vegetation has made it difficult for fire fighters to gain control over a wildfire that is burning in rugged mountain terrain outside the Yosemite National Park in California. The blaze has forced mandatory evacuations in Mariposa, scorched 39 square miles, destroyed eight structures and is threatening at least 1,500 homes and power lines that provide electricity to Yosemite. California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County due to the wildfire that began Sunday and as of Tuesday night was only 5 percent contained.
- Tropical Storm Don has been downgraded after passing over the Windward Islands but is still churning in the Caribbean as it quickly moves almost due west, with impacts on Wednesday to Trinidad, Tobago, Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire including increased surf, rip currents, severe thunderstorms, and strong winds. Forecasters believe the fast movement of the storm will limit effects to impacted areas keeping locally heavy rainfall amounts to between two and four inches, increasing urban and flash flooding risks. The storm is predicted to further weaken late Wednesday and move over Central America later in the week as a tropical rainstorm.
- According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a strong 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck between Alaska and Russia late Monday, shaking areas off the coast of Russia. The quake prompted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to issue a tsunami advisory for the Aleutian Islands in Alaska due to the shallow earthquake. Multiple aftershocks occurred and a small tsunami was recorded in Shemya Island, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands at 3.6 inches above the tide level.
- Hurricane Fernanda in the Pacific Ocean, downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, continues to move closer to Hawaii, but is predicted to progressively weaken as it encounters cooler waters over the next several days. Officials indicate that as the storm moves closer to the islands, rougher surf, larger swells, and rip currents are likely to impact beaches that are primarily east and north-facing. Tropical Storm Greg and Tropical Depression Eight-E have also formed in the east Pacific, but are unlikely to threaten any land masses.
- Police in Miami-Dade have confirmed that a 10-year-old-boys' death last month was from an overdose of the opioid, fentanyl, causing him to be the states youngest victim to die in the ongoing opioid crisis that is sweeping the entire nation. Police are investigating how the boy, Alton Banks, came in contact with the drug, but do not believe it occurred in the home. The painkiller is so powerful that police officers have been warned to avoid contact with the drug to avoid suffering an overdose.
- The search for the tenth victim of a flash flood that occurred in a popular swimming hole near Payson, Arizona on Saturday continues into its fourth day after area storms halted efforts on Tuesday. Following a request by the Gila County Sheriff, Adam Shepard, a 16-person Type 3 Incident Management Team is now leading the search which includes fire, law enforcement, and medical professionals. Nine other bodies, all members of the same family, have already been recovered.
- Police in Hungary halted and evacuated its 18 international trains after receiving a bomb threat on Wednesday. A statement on the country's police website noted that they had received a call from an unidentified man telling them that international trains en route to Hungary were planted with explosives. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is currently in Hungary however, there is no known connection between his visit and the bomb threats.
- Health officials in New Hampshire issued a warning on Monday about an out-of-town resident infected with the measles virus that visited the popular Hampton Beach on July 9. The visitor spent several hours, from approximately noon until 6:00 p.m., at the beach and at various locations along Ocean Boulevard. Since the visitor spent majority of the time in open-air locations, officials believe the risk of transmission of the highly contagious virus are minimal, but urge residents to be alert for signs and symptoms of the measles.
Hurricane Fernanda still over 1400 mi from the Hawaiian islands. Should weaken further as it drives through a shear-heightened environment pic.twitter.com/W5HaRq6YgE
— John Kassell (@JPKassell) July 19, 2017
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) July 18, 2017
New Hampshire health officials warn the public after a person with measles visited a popular beach. https://t.co/WBlKYNr3NA
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 18, 2017