Home Emergency Management News Eleven-Hour Power Outage at Atlanta International Airport Disrupts Air Traffic

Eleven-Hour Power Outage at Atlanta International Airport Disrupts Air Traffic


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 19, 2017: A total power outage at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was caused by an electrical fire, the Atlanta Airport power outage disrupts air traffic for hours and strands travelers, hundreds are sickened on board a Royal  Caribbean cruise ship, a landslide triggered by tropical storm Kai-tak in the Philippines causes the deaths of at least 26, a U.S. intelligence tip-off to Russia helps thwart a terrorist attack, a border town in Thailand may be losing its battle against drug-resistant malaria, new evacuations were ordered in Santa Barbara on Saturday as the Thomas Fire becames third-largest in California history, and a lockdown was ordered at a Royal Air Force based used by U.S. troops after a vehicle rammed the gates.

  1. A total power outage at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Sunday caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to suspend all outgoing flights and to issue a ground stop for all inbound aircraft, holding airplanes bound for Atlanta at their departure cities. Georgia Power tweeted that the outage was caused by an electrical fire in an underground facility at the airport, which required them to shut power to the rest of the airport to prevent further damage. The utility company had to wait for fire crews to extinguish the fire before they were able to safely enter, assess the damage, and begin repairs.
  2. The power outage that lasted 11 hours at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Sunday resulted in the cancellation of over 1,300 flights, stranded thousands of travelers and required airlines to make allowances for travelers to rebook on different days and flights. The outage interrupted air traffic at the beginning of the holiday travel season, affected the operations of nearly every major carrier, and since Atlanta is the world's busiest airport, is likely to snarl travel for days,  Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed noted that the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park and the Georgia World Congress Center would be opened to house stranded travelers
  3. A total of 332 passengers fell ill with a stomach virus on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship during a five-night trip before it returned to Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday. The medical staff on board the Independence of the Seas ship reportedly treated the passengers with over-the-counter medication for the short-lived gastrointestinal virus, which had affected approximately 6 percent of the ship's total passengers. A spokesman for the cruise line stated that the ship underwent "intensive sanitary procedures" in order to prevent the continued spread of the virus.
  4. A massive landslide triggered by torrential rains from tropical storm Kai-tak has reportedly killed 26 people and left another 23 missing in a local province in the Philippines. Nearly 88,000 people across the region sought emergency shelter ahead of the storm that brought heavy rains and flooded many areas, damaging crops and infrastructure. The storm also cut power throughout the area, caused the cancellation of flights, and disrupted ferry service, stranding at least 15,000 people in ports across the region.
  5. The Kremlin reported on Friday that a tip received from the United States led to the thwarting of a terror plot in Russia, likely saving many lives. The tip-off from the U.S. led Russian Security Services to seven individuals who were alleged supporters of the Islamic State and who were arrested after a search by authorities revealed weapons and explosives. The Federal Security Service of Russia stated that attacks had been planned for December 16 in public places, and noted that the cooperation with the U.S. was very meaningful and such standards should be an aim between the two countries.
  6. A border town in Thailand is gaining international attention for its fight against drug-resistant strains of malaria, a fight that could hamper global efforts to eradicate the disease. Bo Rai, just 190 miles east of Bangkok, is at the forefront of the new strains of Malaria which originated in Cambodia, then spread to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Substandard and fake drugs that are locally available, are also increasing resistance within the parasite, and frequent travel across this major border crossing increases the risk of disease spread.
  7. Smoke filled Santa Barbara, California on Saturday as new evacuations were ordered for the Montecito area due to the spreading Thomas Fire. The blaze, burning since December 4, has now become the third-largest wildfire in California history, and has consumed over 270,000 acres, an area roughly the size of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. Nearly 8,500 firefighters are battling the blaze, that to date, has cost $130.89 million to fight, destroyed more than 1,000 structures, and is only 45 percent contained.
  8. In the United Kingdom, reports of a car ramming the gate of a Royal Air Force based used by U.S. forces early in the afternoon on Monday prompted a lockdown of the facility. The Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Suffolk, about 78 miles northeast of London, reported that a man tried to force his way into the facility, creating the lockdown conditions. The man was apprehended and is in custody, but local police are asking the public to avoid the area.

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.