Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Target Stores Bomb Plot, Oroville Dam, Baltimore Fire

EDM Friday Briefing: Target Stores Bomb Plot, Oroville Dam, Baltimore Fire

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 17, 2017: A bomb plot against numerous Target stores is thwarted in Florida, Oroville Dam spillway damage might be linked to heavy erosion and cavitation, more than 100 firefighters respond to Northwest Baltimore warehouse fire, the strongest storm of the season poised to strike the West Coast, H7N9 not easily detected in poultry increasing risk to humans, Listeria outbreak prompts more cheese recalls, record low sea ice is observed by NOAA in both poles, and two planes clip wings on the tarmac in Phoenix.

  1. A Florida man has been charged for allegedly plotting to place bombs in at least 10 Target stores along the East Coast. The man, Mark Charles Barnett, a 43 year-old man and registered sex offender, is said to have offered a confidential informant $10,000 to place the bombs, which were disguised as breakfast bars, pasta, and stuffing mix, on the shelves. He instead turned them into police. Barnett believed the explosions would cause Target stock prices to plummet, allowing him to purchase the stock cheaply before prices eventually rose again.
  2. A recent incident summary produced by state water officials concerning the Oroville Dam spillway damage indicates that rainwater runoff is likely to have contributed to its catastrophic failure. Officials believe that heavy rains caused flowing water to divert and erode the hillside next to the concrete spillway, undermining its support, contributing in part to its failure. Some experts also believe that cavitation -- tiny water vapor bubbles creating enormous turbulence that chip away at concrete -- might also have played a part. The failure resulted in the use of the unpaved emergency spillway due to historic high lake levels, which later was in danger of a complete failure, prompting the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people last Sunday from the valley below.
  3. A massive warehouse fire in Northwest Baltimore took more than 100 firefighters most of the night to contain. Fire erupted in the vacant warehouse around 9:00 p.m. and caused light rail suspension along with road and bridge closures for a short time including the Jones Falls Expressway (JFX) and the 41st street bridge, as smoke engulfed the JFX and firefighters worked to contain the blaze. No injuries were reported and the cause of the blaze is unknown at this time.
  4. Forecasters from the National Weather Service (NWS) are anticipating heavy rains, large snowfall amounts, and high winds for California and southern Oregon as the next major storm moves through the region beginning on Friday. Possibly the strongest storm of the season, at least 10 inches of rain are possible in vulnerable areas burned by recent wildfires. Forecasters warn that burned areas hit with the heavy rains are at risk of mudslides and debris flows and heavy urban area flooding is also highly likely in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles. Higher elevations could also receive up to two feet of snow from the storm, along with winds gusts of up to 75 mph likely resulting in widespread power outages.
  5. Health experts are suggesting that the infection rate in chickens and geese of the H7N9 bird flu may be higher than originally suspected since the disease is particularly difficult to detect in poultry. The birds show little to no symptoms when infected with the disease, making random testing the only real means of detection, which can be deadly for humans. Health experts note that although the disease can be deadly, its spread between people is still thought to be relatively difficult as most individuals infected with the virus have reported direct exposure to poultry.
  6. Another company that is recalling several of its cheese products due to Listeria being found at the supplier is Montreal based Saputo Inc., the multi-national dairy company. Cheese brands and types included in the recall include Great Midwest Applewood Smoke Gouda Cheese and Dutchmark Smoked Gouda Cheese. Saputo, Inc. is voluntarily recalling the cheeses after Deutsch Kase Hause LLC notified them that some specialty cheeses containing the Listeria monocytogenes may have been supplied to Saputo's Green Bay, Wisconsin facility.
  7. January made its mark in weather history books as the third warmest on record since 1880 according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report. What's even more troubling is that record low levels of sea ice for January were also recorded at both poles, the lowest levels since satellite recording began in 1979. Levels in the Arctic were 8.6 percent below average amounts recorded during January from 1981 to 2010, and 22.8 percent below the 1981-2010 January averages for Antarctica. The report also noted above average snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere, the sixth largest for the 51-year recording period.
  8. Late Thursday night, two airplanes clipped wings on the tarmac at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. The incident occurred around 8:00 p.m. when a Frontier Airlines jet taxiing from its gate for departure and a Southwest Airlines flight that had just arrived, clipped wings. Southwest passengers were moved to another aircraft and reached Denver International Airport (DIA) around 12:30 a.m. while passengers traveling on Frontier arrived in DIA about four hours later at 4:30 a.m. No injuries were reported and the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

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.