Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 13, 2017: Evacuations ordered as Oroville Dam spillway failure is said to be imminent, 6.5 magnitude earthquake on Mindanao in the Philippines kills at least six, Bangor, Maine under blizzard warning as a winter storm brings heavy snow and high winds, China orders emission reductions as heavy smog sets its sights on Beijing, flu-related child deaths in Ohio reaches 3, Listeria contamination triggers recall of cheeses, a cold-snap is being blamed for more than 150 Taiwanese deaths, and an avalanche in the south-eastern France kills at least four.
- Nearly 200,000 people were ordered to evacuate from Butte, Marysville, Sutter, and Yuba counties in California on Sunday evening as officials warned of an imminent spillway failure on the Oroville Dam. The evacuation order came less than five hours after officials said during an earlier press conference that even with the lake nearing capacity and water flowing over the emergency spillway, there was no imminent threat to the public. Built in 1968 and sitting at 770 feet high, the Oroville Dam is the nation's highest and holds back over 3.5 million acre-feet of water.
- A magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck overnight on Friday in the Philippine city of Surigao on the southern island of Mindanao has killed at least 6 people. Over 120 others have been injured in the quake, and officials have reported more than 100 aftershocks. Cracks in the runway closed the airport temporarily, and officials stated that many of the city's roads have cracks and a bridge in an outlying town had collapsed.
- Following a winter blast of up to 20 inches of snow in some areas along the upper East Coast last week, another winter storm has set its sights on New England. The heaviest is snow now falling over Maine, where weather officials indicate it is snowing at a rate of more than 2 inches per hour, causing blizzard warnings to be issued for Bangor and Downeast Maine with up to two feet of snow possible. The intensifying storm is also producing high winds that could trigger power outages all along the East Coast, even as far south as Virginia and North Carolina.
- China has ordered cities on its pollution highways to reduce emissions as the nation's northeast region gets ready to deal with heavy bouts of smog again this week. Officials expect the heavy smog to reach the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area later this week. For the third year in a row, China is working to reduce air pollution from high emission cities, including Anyang and Tangshan, in response to public protests that have erupted regarding environmental degradation.
- Ohio has been hit hard this flu season as yet another child has died when complications from the flu caused a rare disease to attack her brain late last week. The young girl, Eva Harris, died from a neurological disease stemming from the flu -- acute necrotizing encephalopathy of the childhood (ANEC) -- a disease that is both rare and severe. Two other child deaths have been reported over the last few weeks across the state, and a death on Saturday in Columbiana County of a 7-year-pld boy is also suspected to be a result of the flu.
- On Saturday, Sargento, a Wisconsin-based company, recalled seven of its cheese products due to concerns of Listeria originating from a third party supplier. The supplier, Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC in Middleburg, Indiana supplied the company with Longhorn Colby cheese that may be contaminated with the bacteria. In the latest recalls amid the Listeria concerns, two Sara Lee brand cheeses have also been recalled, Colby & Monterey Jack and Monterey Jack & Jalapeño natural cheese slices.
- Officials in Taiwan are blaming a cold spell for the deaths of over 150 people last week, citing most of them as being sick or elderly, when temperatures dropped into the low 40s. Below-normal temperatures affected much of the island from Thursday night through Sunday, and most homes on the island lack any type of central heating. Reports suggest that those with heart conditions and elderly individuals with the flu were those affected the most by the sudden drop in temperature. Taiwan's normal temperatures average in the 60s during January and February.
- An avalanche in the ski resort of Tignes, in south-eastern France, has resulted in the deaths of at least four people. A group of nine people, including a guide and eight skiers, were swept away and buried under the wall of snow. Five people remain buried as rescue teams and sniffer dogs continue to search for the missing skiers. The 1,300 foot wide avalanche is thought to have been triggered by skiers higher up on the mountain.
— Yellow Party News (@yellowpartynews) February 12, 2017
[830a] Updated snowfall totals from across SNE! pic.twitter.com/J5Bj25uGzp
— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) February 13, 2017
— Wayne County Health (@WayneCoHD) February 13, 2017
Avalanche in French Alpine ski resort of Tignes kills at least four people, rescuers say https://t.co/Z5zkQnR3Gm
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) February 13, 2017