Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: State of Emergency Declared in North and South Carolina Ahead of Hurricane Florence

EDM Monday Briefing: State of Emergency Declared in North and South Carolina Ahead of Hurricane Florence


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 10, 2018: The Delta Fire has forced the closure of Interstate 5 near the Oregon border, the NHC is forecasting Hurricane Florence to rapidly strengthen into a major hurricane on Monday, two additional storms are churning in the Atlantic Ocean with one positioned to impact the Lesser Antilles by Thursday, a pipeline leak dumped 8,000 gallons of jet fuel into a river in Indiana late Friday, the death toll from Japan's deadly earthquake last Thursday continues to rise, a man is in custody in France after smashing into an airport and driving onto the runway in Lyon, Hurricane Olivia is forecast to impact Hawaii mid-week, and a Qantas Airlines flight turned back to Perth two hours into a 17 hour flight for a disruptive passenger.

  1. The Delta Fire, burning in Northern California, has forced the indefinite closure of Interstate 5, both north and southbound near the Oregon border. The interstate is a major commerce route between Vancouver and Tijuana, and trucks laden with goods from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are being forced to take a nearly 140-mile single lane detour. The wildfire, which began on September 5 and was human caused, has scorched nearly 41,000 acres and is burning into the Hirz Fire, which has burned just over 46,000 acres, and is 95 percent contained. 
  2.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) stated that Hurricane Florence is rapidly strengthening and is forecast to become a major hurricane soon. Based on current models, the storm is likely to hit somewhere along the coast of the Carolinas, which prompted the governors of both North and South Carolina to declare a state of emergency Friday, ahead of the still strengthening Hurricane Florence. Weather officials have not yet issued any watches or warnings for the United States, but are urging residents in the projected impact area to have a plan, be prepared, and heed local storm updates, watches, and warnings.  
  3. Two other storms are churning in the Atlantic Ocean behind Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Isaac, set to impact the Lesser Antilles by Thursday, and Hurricane Helene, whose track is forecast to send it out to sea. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Isaac is a small Category 1 storm, with maximum wind speeds of 75 mph, hurricane force winds extending out about 10 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds up to 45 miles out. Isaac is set to impact the Lesser Antilles by as early as Thursday at its current forward speed of 13 mph, then move into the eastern Caribbean Sea.  
  4. A  pipeline leak in Indiana caused 8,000 gallons of jet fuel to dump into the St. Marys River in Decatur on Friday evening. The Texas-based company, Buckeye Pipe Line Co., L.P., shut down the pipeline as soon as it detected a drop in pressure, and booms were placed around the spilled fuel in the river. Officials noted that clean up could take weeks, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is monitoring water and air quality in locations downstream and around the spill.  
  5. The death toll from the earthquake that hit Japan late last week has steadily risen since Friday from 9 to 39, with another two people still missing and 641 injured. The quake triggered multiple deadly landslides in Atsuma, Hokkaido, and cause huge cracks in the road in Sapporo, the island's main city. The deadly earthquake is the latest in a string of natural disasters to have hit Japan recently, including Typhoon Jebi, which struck the central portion of Japan's main island early last week. 
  6. A man who drove onto an airport runway and abandoned his car was chased on foot by police and finally caught after smashing his car into two airports in Lyon, in southeast France. The man was being chased by police vehicles and a helicopter after he was first spotted driving the wrong way on the A43 highway, when he rammed into security barriers at Lyon Bron airport, which is used for business flights. He then drove to the nearby International Saint Exupery Airport, where he rammed his car into more barriers before crashing through two glass doors in Terminal 1 and driving onto the runway. All air traffic at the airport was quickly suspended until police were able to take the suspect into custody and secure the area.  
  7. Two storms are churning through the Pacific Ocean, but currently, only one of them is forecast to directly impact the Hawaiian Islands--Hurricane Olivia. Olivia, currently categorized as a Category 1 storm, is expected to downgrade to a tropical storm before it impacts the islands mid-week and brings heavy rainfall and wind gusts in excess of 50 mph. Farther to the east, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) advised that Tropical Storm Paul is now churning in the Eastern North Pacific Ocean, several hundred miles west-southwest of the Baja California peninsula, but noted that it is not forecast to become a hurricane over the next five days.  
  8.  A Qantas flight bound for London from Perth, Australia was forced to turn around after just 2 hours in flight due to a disruptive passenger. Flight QF9, a Boeing 787-900, departed Perth at 7:03 p.m. local time on September 9, and was due to land in London at 10:54 p.m.--after just over 17 hours of flight time. Instead, it turn around near Shark Bay after a passenger had locked himself in the restroom for nearly an hour then reportedly came out and began shouting. Crew members asked for assistance from male passengers to help subdue the individual, who was held until the flight landed back in Perth--and the disruptive passenger was then cuffed, masked, and escorted off the plane by authorities.  

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.