Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 24, 2017: Two officers have been wounded and one man is dead in Washington, DC shooting, Shasta Dam engineers use upper gates in a historic water release, weather forecasters warn of severe weather from Michigan to Tennessee, an explosion at a natural gas well critically injures three in Oklahoma, United Nations banned chemical weapon VX used on assassination of Kim Jong-nam, a landslide in Italy leaves 100 homeless in hard-hit Abruzzo region, a turboprop operated by Flybe crash lands at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, and spring is coming earlier to the lower Arctic regions in Greenland.
- In Washington, DC, two police officers are wounded and one man is dead after an exchange of gunfire. According to reports, the officers, who were fired upon and struck in their lower bodies, returned fire with their weapons. One individual with gunshot wounds died while being transported to the hospital. The officers are listed in stable condition, but police have not released the names of the individuals involved.
- The Shasta Dam in California tested its upper gates for the first time in 20 years by conducting an historic 15-minute water release in anticipation of increase reservoir levels from incoming flows. Shasta Lake, California's largest reservoir, is at 93% of its capacity and anticipated runoff from Sierra Nevada and the surrounding foothills saw dam engineers releasing billions of gallons of water into the Sacramento River - at 70,000 cubic feet per second - to make room for the additional incoming flows. Currently, the dam is in good working order but officials downstream are working on contingency plans in case significantly larger amounts of water need to be released, some of which could potentially impact communities below the dam.
- Weather forecasters are warning residents in the midwest to watch for high winds and possible tornadoes that could result from the same system that inundated California with heavy rains and extreme winds earlier in the week. The system is set to move into the area on Friday, impacting locations from Detroit, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee. Temperatures are expected to soar to near 70 degrees on Friday in southern Michigan and northern Indiana as moist air moves in from the Gulf of Mexico. In a twist, the same system, on Saturday, is likely to bring snow as it moves through these same regions.
- An explosion at a private natural gas well injured four people on Thursday night in eastern Oklahoma. The explosion occurred when contract workers were repairing a gas line at the well that had been damaged by a truck earlier in the day. Heath Underwood, the Wagoner County Emergency Manager, stated that three of the workers were critically injured and two were evacuated from the scene by air ambulance. Despite the high-risk of wildfire in the area, firefighters were able to contain the fire at the well after emergency responders shut off the gas line, preventing further injuries or damages.
- An agent classified as a chemical weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations, the VX nerve agent, was reportedly used to kill the half-brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. It is now believed that the two women who assaulted Kim Jong-nam were North Korean agents paid to assassinate him. The VX nerve agent, which is odorless and tasteless, is prohibited for use under the Chemical Weapons Convention, has no commercial use, and must be made in a chemical weapons laboratory that is very sophisticated. China is suspected of having the third largest chemical weapons stockpile in the world, including sarin and VX, both of which are nerve agents.
- A landslide has caused the evacuation of thirty-three homes in Italy and left at least 100 people homeless. The landslide is moving at about 3.2 feet per day in the village of Ponzano, in the Abruzzo region, and has cut a hillside in two. The same region also experienced a series of earthquakes in late 2016 and early 2017 that severely damaged the town of Amatrice.
- On Thursday afternoon, a Flybe operated twin turboprop airplane crash landed at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Emergency crews were called to the scene after the landing gear collapsed just after touchdown on the Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, causing the plane to lean to one side with a wing touching the ground. 59 passengers were on board, but no injuries were reported. Aviation officials have launched a full investigation into the incident.
- According to a new report, spring is coming earlier to the Arctic as sea ice diminishes throughout the region. Although some plant species are delaying their emergence due to warming winters, other plant species are emerging earlier in the low Arctic of Greenland. One species is emerging a full 26 days earlier than it did just ten years ago. The changes have implications for the ecological structure of the region, and scientists note that they will affect the area for years to come.
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) February 24, 2017
— Newslink Indiana WX (@NLIWeather) February 24, 2017
— Detroit News: Nation (@dn_nation_world) February 24, 2017