Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Major Earthquake Strikes Mexico, Equifax Cyber Attack, 3 Hurricanes

EDM Friday Briefing: Major Earthquake Strikes Mexico, Equifax Cyber Attack, 3 Hurricanes

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 8, 2017: A deadly 8.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Mexico, Hurricane Irma slams Caribbean and devastates Barbuda as a Category 5 storm, Florida residents evacuate ahead of Irma as the State's EOC works around the clock, a chemical explosion outside of Cleveland, Tennessee prompts school closures and sheltering in place orders, giant credit monitor Equifax announces massive security breach, two more hurricanes are churning in the Atlantic basin, a suspect is dead after shooting two police officers during a traffic stop, Harvey debris in Houston may take months to remove, and police suspect a teenage boy of sparking the massive wildfire that began Saturday in Oregon.

  1. A major 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico just before midnight on Thursday, killing at least 6 people, prompting tsunami warnings, and triggering mass evacuations. The strong earthquake was centered about 100 miles west of the state of Chiapas on Mexico's west coast, but shaking was felt as far away as its east coast and into portions of the Yucatan Peninsula. Officials stated that nearly 1 million people lost power following the quake, and at least three strong aftershocks greater than a 6.0 magnitude have already occurred.
  2. Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean on Wednesday as a major Category 5 storm, with wind speeds of up to 185 mph, leaving a trail of destruction on its path toward the east. The storm has already claimed the lives of at least 13 people and Antigua and Barbuda's prime minister, Gaston Browne, stated that Irma has destroyed 95 percent of the structures on Barbuda, where the storm made its first landfall. The storm brushed past Puerto Rico, with its center about 50 miles from land, but left at least 70 percent of the islands residents without power as it moved toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday. 
  3. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma is forecast to remain a major and powerful Category 4 or 5 storm over the next several days, tracking west-northwest and likely making landfall in Florida sometime Sunday. Evacuations in preparation for the possible arrival of Hurricane Irma have been underway in Florida since Wednesday, including a mandatory evacuation order for the Florida Keys, portions of Ft. Lauderdale in Broward County, and extensive areas of Miami-Dade County. Following President Trump's approval of Florida Governor, Rick Scott's pre-landfall emergency declaration, Florida went to a level one activation at its State Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.  
  4. An explosion at a chemical plant in Charleston, Tennessee, a small town about 30 minutes north of Chattanooga, sent a major cloud into the air and had residents sheltering in place on Thursday afternoon. The plume further prompted road closures and school bus diversions to shelter locations, all of which were lifted a short time later. A second leak later in the evening prompted another shelter in place warning for resident within 1.5 miles to the south of the plant and closed portions of a roadway in the area. 
  5. The credit monitoring company, Equifax, notified the public on Thursday that a major security breach had occurred on July 29, nearly 110 days after the breach occurred. Equifax believes that the sensitive information, including names, birth dates, social security and credit card numbers, of at least 143 million people may have been compromised during the hack. The company has set up a special website for people to check if their information may have been stolen during the cyber attack.
  6. Two more hurricane's are churning in the Atlantic Basin, one in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katia, and another approaching the Leeward Islands, Hurricane Jose, following a similar track behind the powerful Hurricane Irma. Katia was nearly stationary late Thursday, however forecasts indicate the storm may continue to strengthen before making landfall in eastern Mexico sometime this weekend. Jose is churning just east of the Leeward Islands as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and according to weather officials, is likely to strengthen in the next 24-hours. 
  7. A homicide suspect in Sacramento, California is dead after a shootout with police following a traffic stop. The shootout began after police stopped a suspect in connection with a double homicide. Immediately after exiting the vehicle, the suspect began shooting at the two officers, striking both of them. The officers suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and leg, however, the officers fired back, striking and killing the suspect. 
  8. Officials are indicating that clean up efforts from Harvey have just begun and the mountains of debris could take months to remove. Nearly 8 million cubic yards of debris have accumulated in the Houston area alone--enough to fill the Texans stadium at least twice. City officials are striving for at least one debris pass within 30 days, however if resources are diverted as a result of a Hurricane Irma impact, officials warn that it could take months before the remaining debris is collected.
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  10. Investigators probing into the cause of the Eagle Creek Fire have stated that the massive wildfire burning in Oregon may have been started by a teenage boy who was setting off fireworks. The blaze has resulted in the evacuation of hundreds of homes, including in Washington State, has scorched over 30,000 acres, prompted air quality alerts, and rained ash and closed highways. As of Thursday night, the fire was only 5 percent contained. 

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.