Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Dynamic Weather System Spawns Rare January Tornado

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Dynamic Weather System Spawns Rare January Tornado


Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 9, 2019: Northeast Ohio was struck Tuesday with a rare, out-of-season tornado; drone sightings near London's Heathrow Airport halted flight departures and launched a full-fledged investigation; the Great Lakes and parts of New England are set to receive up to six inches of snow or more; a former pharmaceutical CEO to plead guilty in an opioid bribery case; an Arizona police officer was struck and killed during a traffic stop in Salt River; a German reinsurance company alleges that the Camp Fire in California last year was the costliest natural disaster in the world in 2018; as record lows grip Florina, Greece, a rare dusting of snow covers ancient monuments in Athens; and multiple foreign consulates were evacuated in Australia after suspicious packages were discovered at their locations.

  1. A dynamic weather system that included snow, showers, and blustery winds produced a rare, out-of-season tornado in Northeast Ohio Tuesday morning. The tornado, packing winds of up to 100 mph, touched down in Trumbull County, near Cortland, Ohio, crossing Mosquito Lake and downing trees and power lines. The tornado also reportedly caused structural damage and a survey team from the National Weather Service  in Cleveland was dispatched to assess damages from the tornado.    
  2. Reports of a drone near London's Heathrow Airport halted air traffic for more than an hour on Tuesday, sparking fears that a similar situation that occurred at rival Gatwick Airport last month, could happen on an even larger scale. Confirmation was given by London's Metropolitan Police that they had received reports of a drone sighting near the airport and they were investigating the incident in conjunction with airport authorities, however, flights resumed about an hour later. Last month, flights at Gatwick were disrupted for nearly three days as repeated drone sightings halted inbound and outbound flights during peak holiday travel.  
  3. The same weather system that spawned a tornado in Ohio is set to dump more than six inches of snow along the Great Lakes and parts of northern New England through Thursday. Areas in New York that are situated closer to the Great Lakes could see nearly a foot of snow, and whiteout conditions are possible, along with wind gusts of up to 40 mph that may extend all the way into New England. The system is also producing wind chills through Thursday that are extremely cold for most of the Midwest, Great Lakes, and New England states.  
  4. The former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, Inc., is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston, where he will allegedly plead guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud charges. The former executive, Michael Babich, resigned in 2015 from the Arizona-based company, after allegations that the company paid doctors bribes to prescribe highly addictive opioid medications. His plea deal comes before five other company executives, including the company's founder and former chairman, John Kapoor, are scheduled to face trial for charges of racketeering conspiracy, to which they have pled not guilty.  
  5. A police officer in Arizona was struck and killed by another motorist during a traffic stop on SR101 in Salt River, about 67 miles east of Phoenix, on Tuesday evening. The Salt River Tribal Police Officer, Clayton Townsend, was approaching the car when he stopped on the side of the road and was hit by another vehicle. The vehicle also hit the car that Townsend had pulled over, and according to reports, state police are investigating the accident.   
  6. An insurance company in Berlin, Germany has designated the Camp Fire in California as the world's costliest single natural disaster in 2018--a firestorm which caused at least $16.5 billion in losses. The reinsurance company, Munich Re, says that the Camp Fire, which rapidly swept through the town of Paradise last November and destroyed thousands of homes and other structures just hours after it ignited, topped all other natural disasters in losses in 2018. The company noted that of the $16.5 billion in losses, some $12.5 billion were insured, but they want quick action by officials to change building codes and land use in order to help prevent future losses.  
  7. As temperatures in Greece hit record lows, ancient monuments in Athens got a rare dusting of snow on Tuesday. Transportation routes, including highways, buses, and railways were disrupted in Florina, in northern Greece, where an all-time record low of -9 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded. Residents in the city of Acropolis had to navigate roadways covered in ice, and many schools were closed in the Athens area due to the rare weather conditions.  
  8. Evacuations of several foreign consulates and embassies were conducted in Australia following the discovery of suspicious packages at their locations. The packages were allegedly discovered at more than a dozen diplomatic agencies in Melbourne, including those of the U.S. and Canada, along with other agencies in Canberra. Hazardous materials vehicles, fire trucks, and police cars were noted to be present at India's consulate in Melbourne, and police said they are investigating the packages--and the incidents--according to established protocols.  

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.