Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 30, 2018: A large explosion at a UPS facility in Kentucky injured two, heavy rains caused a second 1 in 1,000 year flash flood in Ellicott City, Maryland, a rapid alert system would likely save lives in Ellicott City, Lake Tahoma dam was impacted by a landslide that closed I-40 in North Carolina, authorities in Belgium are investigating a shooting spree that killed three people as possible terrorism, lava flows from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano cut off another major escape route, a hepatitis A outbreak has occurred in Nashville, Tennessee, and police in Mississauga, Ontario continue investigating an IED explosion that injured 15 people.
- A large explosion at a UPS facility in Lexington, Kentucky on Wednesday morning has injured two and caused major structural damage to the facility. A small fire was also burning when emergency personnel arrived on the scene, and at least six other people were transported to area hospitals as a precaution. Investigators believe the explosion was accidental, and occurred when welding tanks exploded, which blew a hole in the roof and started the fire.
- Heavy rains from subtropical storm Alberto inundated areas of the East Coast and caused catastrophic and deadly flash flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland--the city's second 1 in 1,000 year flood--in just two years. Rain amounts equaled several inches per hour, with the city receiving double its average rainfall amount in May--normally 4 inches--in just three hours. The rapid and heavy rainfall pushed the Patapsco River to new heights, with waters cresting at 27 foot, 3 inches by 5:00 p.m, with the rushing water sweeping away everything in its path, including cars, and battering homes and businesses.
- Ellicott City, Maryland 911 operators fielded more than 1,100 calls of people needing rescued when flood waters began pouring into the city on Sunday. Civil engineering projects are underway in the city, including the construction of culverts and retention ponds, but one professor believes a rapid alert notification system is also necessary to effectively warn citizens and quickly get them out of the way of rising floodwaters. Professor Jeffrey Halverson of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, noted that employing the use of rain and stream gauges in and around the city would allow comparison to computer models, sending an automatic warning to smartphones if water levels rose to dangerous heights.
- Heavy rainfall attributed to subtropical storm Alberto also wreaked havoc in other states along the East Coast, including McDowell County, North Carolina where a state of emergency was issued after a landslide that closed I-40 in both directions also compromised the structural integrity of the Lake Tahoma dam. Emergency management officials issued mandatory evacuations just after midnight for areas south of the dam, citing the imminent failure of the dam. The National Weather Service also sent a message via Twitter, urging residents to heed all evacuation orders immediately. After reports that the dam's integrity was in question, state engineers were sent to assess the dam Wednesday morning, while at least 2,000 people were evacuated from residential communities and campgrounds.
- Three people are dead following a shooting in the eastern city of Liège, Belgium that authorities believe may be terror related. The suspect, Benjamin Herman, 36, a Belgian native who may have been radicalized, yelled Allahu akbar during a shooting spree that killed two police officers and a bystander. Authorities say that Herman, who was on a short leave from prison on Monday but never returned, is also suspected of killing another individual the day before the shooting spree.
- Lava from Kilauea's continued eruption has now destroyed more than 40 homes, as escape routes out of the area are slowly being closed off by flowing lava, following the closure of a major road, Highway 132, on Tuesday. Earthquakes are still occurring, including at least 45 earthquakes that struck Kilauea within hours Wednesday, as residents still in the area remain on high alert about increased lava flows. The volcano also triggered more than 270 earthquakes on Saturday in the area, as lava finally reached the geothermal plant, increasing concerns about a possible explosion at the plant.
- A hepatitis A outbreak has occurred in Nashville, Tennessee, prompting concern that the outbreak is much larger that it appears since symptoms can take weeks to appear. A total of 14 confirmed cases in the Nashville area have been reported by health officials, and according to state health officials, an ongoing outbreak in Michigan has led to 27 deaths in the state since 2016. Health officials note that it is still possible to transmit the disease even if a person has no symptoms, which makes it especially difficult to contain.
- Police in Mississauga, Ontario continue to investigate an incident where 15 people were injured when an explosive device was allegedly detonated by two suspects at a restaurant in the city last Thursday. Peel police are searching for a motive in the detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that contained such households items as nails, and now believe one suspect may be a female based on their review of surveillance footage. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, and police are asking anyone with video footage or security cameras to contact Peel police.
If any photo tells the story of just how devastating the #EllicottCityFlood was, it’s this. Nothing is holding these cars up.
— Drew (@DrewMacFarlane) May 29, 2018
Health alert issued after sewage main breaks in flood-ravaged area https://t.co/qXE31ELxCJ
— Linda Dudek (@DudekLinda) May 29, 2018
Crews inspecting the Lake Tahoma Dam have deemed it safe. Evacuations lifted. pic.twitter.com/2ieEpCKQWv
— Dana Griffin (@DanaGriffinWYFF) May 30, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2018
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 30, 2018
— Tennessee Vols (@VolWire) May 30, 2018
— CBC Toronto (@CBCToronto) May 29, 2018