Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Hurricane Florence Remnants Continue to Wreak Havoc

EDM Monday Briefing: Hurricane Florence Remnants Continue to Wreak Havoc


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 17, 2018: A dam breach has occurred in Boiling Springs Lake, North Carolina after torrential rainfall from Hurricane Florence, Typhoon Mangkhut caused widespread damage and triggered landslides that killed more than 60 in the Philippines, NWS officials ordered the mandatory evacuation on Sunday night of residents below the Headwaters Dam in Creston, NC, residents in three Massachusetts communities impacted by gas explosions and fires were allowed to return home Sunday, Terminal 4 at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport was reopened late Sunday afternoon after being evacuated and closed for several hours due to a security concern, the Delta Fire in California is over 75 percent contained and area evacuations have been lifted, FEMA crews and power company trucks had to turn back after severe flooding prevented access to Wilmington, North Carolina, and a fire retardant drop toppled the tree that killed a firefighter in the Mendocino Complex Fire.

  1. As torrential rainfalls from Hurricane Florence and its remnants soak North Carolina and swell rivers and lakes, one dam breach has already occurred in Boiling Springs Lake, in Brunswick County, flooding nearby roadways and forcing their closure. Sanford Dam failed Saturday evening after the city was unable to implement a controlled breach to prevent the dams failure. According to reports, the city enacted its emergency action plan and no residents were at risk, when all three lakes, The Big Lake, Pine Lake, and North Lake, began rapidly draining. 
  2. Typhoon Mangkhut plowed through the northern coast of Luzon, in the Philippines, causing widespread destruction and devastation that uprooted trees, toppled power lines, and triggered landslides. The death toll has risen to over 60 people, including 32 miners and their families who had taken shelter in a two story building that was crushed and buried in a landslide. As rescue efforts continue, officials estimate that along with the loss of life, agricultural losses are likely to exceed $180 million, with widespread crop damage to both rice and corn. 
  3. As the last of Florence moves out of North Carolina, flooding continues to plague many portions of the state, forcing the evacuations of multiple towns, including anyone south of the Headwaters Dam in Creston, NC, in Ashe County. Officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of residents downriver from 5010 Three Top Road Sunday night due to fear that the dam, which was near capacity, would breach. An alert through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) was activated by the National Weather Service in Blacksburg to warn at-risk residents. 
  4. Residents of three Massachusetts communities evacuated last Thursday after a series of explosions and dozens of building fires, were permitted to return home Sunday. Over-pressurized gas lines are thought to have triggered the explosions and fires that occurred in the three communities last week, which also killed one man and injured at least 20 people. An ongoing investigation into what occurred is being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and the Massachusetts Fire Marshal's Office.  
  5. Terminal 4 at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport was shut down Sunday morning for hours as a precaution while police conducted an investigation into an abandoned rental car. Police received a call about a suspicious abandoned rental car that was left on the upper deck of Terminal 4 at around 7:00 a.m. Sunday, which prompted the closure and evacuation of all passengers from that area of the airport. The evacuation and investigation caused numerous flight delays and cancellations for multiple carriers including Southwest and American Airlines, Air Canada, and British Airways.  
  6. Firefighters in California continue to aggressively suppress the Delta Fire and have achieved 76 percent containment as of Monday morning despite adverse weather conditions over the weekend. The fire--believed to be human-caused--has consumed 60,277 acres since it began on September 5, is being fought by 2,828 personnel, and is estimated to be fully contained by Saturday. The fire previously closed portions of I-5 in Northern California, but now officials have lifted all evacuations in Shasta County, and National Forest closures have been reduced as of Monday morning.  
  7. Impacts from Hurricane Florence are widespread throughout North Carolina, including widespread debris and flooding, prompting officials to warn people to avoid traveling through the state due to multiple and widespread road closures, including portions of I-95 and I-40. Officials in Wilmington, North Carolina said the city, home to about 117,000 residents, is completely cut off by flooded roadways, which prevented access to the city for crews from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and power company trucks, causing them to turn back. Rivers are not forecast to reach crest levels until Monday or Tuesday, and at least 18 people have died in storm-related incidents, including from flash flooding and falling trees.  
  8. New information has been released regarding the death of firefighter, Matthew Burchett, the Draper City, Utah, Fire Battalion Chief, that was killed while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire. Burchett was killed when a massive tree uprooted after a retardant drop from a Global SuperTankers Services modified Boeing 747, whose pilot did not realize there was an elevation change near the drop site. The pilot dropped the retardant from 190 feet instead of 361 feet, causing the retardant to fall with such force that it toppled the 90 foot Douglas fir tree that killed Burchett and injured three other firefighters.  

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.