Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Cancun Travel Warning, Barbie Doll Plane Bomb Plot

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Cancun Travel Warning, Barbie Doll Plane Bomb Plot


Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 23, 2017: A new travel warning has been issued by the U.S. State Department, anti-terrorism intelligence officials disrupt a plot to blow up an airliner with a Barbie doll bomb, Typhoon Hato kills four as it makes landfall in Macau and Hong Kong, flooding and landslides across portions of northwest Ireland and Northern Ireland wash out bridges and roadways, firefighters struggle to contain wildfires in Quincy, California that erupted on an old fire scar area, heavy rainfall leads to flooded roads and interstates in Oklahoma City, tropical disturbance 92L is poised to drench Florida and the Bahamas, and historic flash flooding in Kansas City, Missouri kills one and strands others on rooftops.

  1. A travel warning has been issued by the U.S. State Department for citizens traveling to certain parts of Mexico. Some of the areas involved in the warning are due to upticks in homicides and other violent crimes, and encompass Baja California Sur, including Cabo San Lucas, along with Cancun and Riviera Maya in Quintana Roo. According to the advisory, U.S. citizens traveling in several Mexican states have also been the victims of carjacking, kidnapping, and robbery
  2. Anti-terrorism intelligence officials announced that an attempt to blow up a commercial jetliner that was traveling from Sydney to Abu Dhabi earlier this month using bombs that were concealed in a Barbie doll and a meat grinder was disrupted because the bag containing the bombs exceeded the carry-on weight of the airline. Intelligence authorities investigated the incident and discovered the plot involved four Lebanese-Australian brothers, including one brother who was a member of ISIS and residing in Syria. The targeted commercial aircraft held 400 passengers and authorities believe the plot was devised to avenge the UAE and Australia for being members of the coalition bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 
  3. Typhoon Hato came ashore in China striking the cities of Macau and Hong Kong early Wednesday morning, killing a total of four people. The storm caused massive power outages and flooding in Macau, uprooted trees in coastal regions in Hong Kong, and caused major flooding throughout the city. Wind gusts at the Hong Kong International Airport on the island of Lantau hit 79 mph, resulting in the cancellation of around 450 flights.  
  4. A round of torrential rain resulted in flash flooding across Northern Ireland and parts of Donegal, Ireland, collapsing bridges and washing out roads. Emergency services worked through the night to help saves residences and lives in Donegal, where at least 600 homes were left without power. Landslides prompted mudflows throughout the north-west portion of the island, further damaging roads and infrastructure, including electrical networks. In Northern Ireland, Fire and Rescue services were inundated with calls including nearly 100 rescues of individuals trapped in their vehicles in high floodwaters, while hundreds remain without power across the region.
  5. Two wildfires that erupted in Quincy, California in the Plumas National Forest on Sunday that prompted area evacuations have now consumed over 370 acres while involving more than 780 personnel to help combat the blazes. According to reports, the Squirrel fire is only 5 percent contained because it is burning across steep, rugged terrain making it difficult for firefighters to gain any advantage. The Toll fire is smaller and has consumed about 70 acres and is 40 percent contained. Both wildfires are burning across an old fire scar area where 6-8 foot high brush has regrown, providing plenty of fuel. 
  6. Heavy rainfall late Tuesday that dumped over two inches of rain on central Oklahoma led to flash flooding in Oklahoma City and left thousands without power. Officials were forced to close several roads across the city, including a portion of Interstate 235. At least 10 vehicles were trapped when another area in the northwest portion of the city was rapidly inundated with flood waters. Reports of lightning strikes to at least 7 homes prompted responses from Oklahoma City firefighters, although no injuries from the storms or flooding were reported.
  7. Forecasters are watching tropical disturbance 92L, a disorganized cluster of enhanced showers and thunderstorms, as it continues to meander through the Bahamas and towards Florida. Although the system is unlikely to develop into a tropical storm, enhanced and more frequent rainfall and strong thunderstorms are likely to plague the areas, possibly leading to urban flooding. Residents along Texas' Gulf Coast should also remain alert to the potential that remnants from Tropical Storm Harvey are likely to reorganize, at least into a tropical depression, and produce very heavy rains, possibly through Sunday evening. Both systems are likely to generate strong seas, rough surf, and rip currents, so officials are cautioning swimmers and boaters to heed all advisories. 
  8. Strong storms that dumped frequent, heavy rains led to historic flash flooding in Kansas City, Missouri late Tuesday, killing one man, sweeping away vehicles, and leaving others stranded on rooftops. First responders received more than 270 water-related calls, including 62 that were for water rescues, while more than 6,000 people lost power across the area. Anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of rain fell on the region, with one neighborhood receiving nearly 9 inches of rain from Monday night into Tuesday.

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.