Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Snow Across 8 States; Santa Ana Winds Begin

EDM Monday Briefing: Snow Across 8 States; Santa Ana Winds Begin

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 15, 2018: Florida continues to search for victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, a bus crash in California injures up to 40 people and shuts down a busy freeway for nearly 12 hours, the NWS issued Red Flag Warnings for multiple counties in anticipation of the arrival of the Santa Ana winds, Newark officials tout safe drinking water even though a new study reveals current corrosion methods are ineffective, PG&E shut off power to nearly 70,000 residents in Northern California beginning Sunday evening, four men are dead and one is injured following a shooting at a toddler's birthday party in Texas, NOAA forecasts a high chance of El Niño formation for the 2018-19 winter weather season, and an early autumn snowfall across multiple states dumps up to a foot of snow and forces major interstate and highway closures over the weekend.

  1. Florida continues to search for victims, survey damage, and clean up from Hurricane Michael, with a total of at least 18 deaths across four states have been attributed to the storm. Search and rescue crews are using cadaver dogs and heavy equipment to search through the collapsed rubble of homes and buildings in towns hardest hit by the hurricane and storm surge, including Mexico Beach. According to officials, a total of 46 people remained missing or unaccounted for as of Sunday in the town of Mexico Beach.  
  2.  A bus crash on the 405 Freeway in California injured as many as 40 people on Sunday afternoon, including five people who sustained serious injuries. The incident occurred on the 405 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley when the bus, traveling northbound, crashed into several vehicles, then went through the center median into oncoming traffic. Northbound lanes were closed for about two hours, but southbound lanes on the 405 were closed until nearly midnight, which caused people to abandon their vehicles on the freeway.  
  3. In a state already weary of wildfires, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned that Santa Ana winds, notorious for fueling Southern California wildfires, were due to arrive Sunday night and continue through Tuesday. The NWS indicated that gusts were likely to reach up to 75 mph in the mountains, and a critical fire weather warning was issued for parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. The warning noted that high winds will dry out fuels made wet by recent rains, and the winds, coupled with low relative humidity and warm temperatures, can contribute to fires that are property and life-threatening.  
  4. A recent corrosion control study that was completed on the water supply in Newark, New Jersey found that the city's corrosion control currently in use has not been effective. Consequently, lead can leach into drinking water supplies from lead service lines or plumbing, and the current system places up to 30,000 residents at risk. The city has a plan to replace its water infrastructure, including lead service lines, but the project could take five to eight years to complete with an estimated cost of $75 million.  
  5. In an attempt to mitigate fire risk in locations with high winds that began Sunday, Pacific Gas and Electric cut off the power to at least 70,000 people across multiple counties in Northern California beginning about 8:00 p.m. Sunday night. Criteria that prompted the power shut off included areas that were under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service, coupled with sustained 25 mph winds, with gusts up to 45 mph, dry-fuel and live vegetation conditions, along with real-time observations by field crews. Power cuts also impacted schools in the area, forcing the cancellation of classes in at least eight school districts.  
  6.  Four men have died and another was injured during a shooting at a toddler's birthday party in Texas on Saturday. Two families were gathered in a home in Taft, Texas, about 12 miles from Corpus Christi, when an altercation occurred and allegedly, two suspects opened fire, killed four men, injured another man, and then fled the scene. Police are unsure what sparked the argument and shooting, and a search for the two suspects is still underway.  
  7. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecasts that El Niño has a 70-75 percent chance of forming over the next couple of months. If it forms, El Niño will impact the weather systems in the Northern Hemisphere for the 2018-19 winter season--which will help relieve the drought-stricken Southwest--but is also likely to influence weather around the world. Factors that indicate the likely formation of El Niño include increased sea surface temperatures and weakened trade winds that blow from South America toward Indonesia.  
  8. Winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings were in effect Sunday through early Monday as snow fell across eight states, including Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, South Dakota, western Kansas, and northern New Mexico. Some areas of Colorado and Wyoming woke up to nearly a foot of snow Sunday, and significantly colder temperatures. The heaviest snowfalls occurred from Boulder, Colorado through Wyoming, into Montana's Beartooth Mountains, which shut down Interstate 25 at the Colorado-Wyoming line for nearly 11 hours from Saturday night to Sunday morning.  

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.