Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Issues States of Emergency for Carolinas, Virginia Ahead of Hurricane Florence

EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Issues States of Emergency for Carolinas, Virginia Ahead of Hurricane Florence


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 12, 2018: Hurricane Florence is set to impact the East Coast of the United States by Thursday or Friday, Puerto Rico adopts new measure to help ensure the island is preparedness for future storms, President Trump has declared states of emergency for the Carolinas and Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence, a sheriff's deputy in Texas is injured by a suspected booby-trap after entering an elderly man's home to assist him, damaging winds and heavy rainfall are expected as Tropical Storm Olivia moves over the Hawaiian Islands, the Delta Fire is only 15 percent contained but I-5 has re-opened with restrictions and single lanes in both directions, an Iberian Airlines flight made an emergency landing overnight in Boston after an engine-related issue, and volunteers are already being mobilized to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

  1. Hurricane Florence is a major Category 4 storm that is set to impact the southeastern coast of the United States by Thursday or Friday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued hurricane warnings for locations from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina and is cautioning residents that the storm may stall and produce torrential rainfall across the southeastern region of the U.S--which could lead to extensive and possibly life-threatening flooding. Currently, the storm has a central pressure of 943 mb (27.89 inches), and wind speeds up to 130 mph with higher gusts, with hurricane force winds that extend out 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extending out up to 175 miles.  
  2. Puerto Rico officials announced that the island has now adopted new measures in the wake of Hurricane Maria to ensure preparedness, such as warehouses filled with water and food, including two that are already operating--one each on the north and south coasts of the island. Other improvements include lists of vulnerable populations, direct emergency lines in nursing homes, and satellite communication systems in hospitals, some of which have already been installed. The governor warns, however, that due to the current economic crisis, there are limitations, especially since significant issues still exist in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  
  3. President Trump has declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence, and assured residents that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is standing by and ready to assist in the aftermath of the storm. The President also urged residents, many of whom have been ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm, to heed local and state officials, and to be prepared. Forecasters are warning that the storm is likely to slow down significantly as it comes close to, and moves onto land, likely producing life-threatening flooding conditions, including flash flooding and river flooding, uprooted trees, and lengthy power outages.  
  4. A sheriff's deputy in Texas was injured when he entered a home to assist an elderly man after he wounded by booby-traps he appeared to have set in his home. The sheriff's department responded to a home in Harris County after receiving a report that a weapon had been discharged.  When they arrived, they encountered a man yelling that there was danger in his home, and when the deputy entered, another weapons discharge of some type occurred, injuring the deputy. The unidentified elderly man, who was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, had apparently booby-trapped his home and was then injured by the shotgun shells he used to booby-trap the home.  
  5. Tropical Storm Olivia is continuing to weaken as approaches the Hawaiian Islands, however, heavy rainfall, high surf, and damaging winds are expected in areas that are under tropical storm warnings, which includes the Big Island. Officials warn that the storm will produce damaging winds that will uproot trees, down power lines, and scatter debris, while heavy rainfall will produce flooding in creeks and rivers. Officials also warn that high winds, in conjunction with the heavy rainfall, could increase the potential for deadly runoff in valleys and also trigger rockslides and mudslides in mountainous areas.  
  6. The Delta Fire, burning in Northern California, which has scorched 53,837 acres as of Wednesday morning, is just 15 percent contained as more than 2,800 personnel work to control the blaze that was likely human-caused. Interstate 5 is now open, however, traffic has been reduced to one lane in both directions for about 17 miles, creating lengthy delays, and officials noted that flammable vehicles, such as tankers or lumber haulers, are currently prohibited and advised these vehicles to take Highway 299 as an alternate. Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for parts of Shasta and Trinity Counties, and Inciweb offers detailed information on shelters that are available for evacuated residents.  
  7. An Iberia Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Boston's Logan International Airport overnight after suffering an engine-related issue during flight shortly after take-off. The aircraft, an Airbus A350-900, departed New York's John F. Kennedy airport at about 9:15 p.m., and about 90 minutes later, the crew observed an engine-related issue which caused one engine to lose power. Flight IB6252, which was carrying 256 passengers and bound for Madrid, Spain, had just passed over the Boston airport when it declared an emergency and returned to land without incident at Logan International Airport.  
  8. As Hurricane Florence moves closer to the East Coast of the U.S., volunteers are already being mobilized to staging areas outside the impact area to assist in the aftermath of the storm. About a dozen volunteers and staff members are already en route from the Chicago-area Red Cross, and according to local Red Cross staff members, additional people will be mobilized as needed to assist with anything from staffing shelters to distributing food, water, and emergency supplies. The organization also provides emergency response vehicles and equipment, with one volunteer from Chicago driving a van that is equipped to deliver food and beverages to areas that cannot access supplies.  

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.