Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Tornadoes, Flooding, and Severe Weather Cause Deaths

EDM Monday Briefing: Tornadoes, Flooding, and Severe Weather Cause Deaths


Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 1, 2017: Tornadoes kill at least four in the small east Texas town of Canton, severe weather impacts resulted in 13 deaths and dozens of injuries across southern United States over the weekend, a pool birthday party in California turned deadly when a gunman opened fire, another North Korean ballistic missile launch has ended in failure, eight Naval students were struck by drunk driver in Florida on Sunday night, a Detroit, Michigan police officer was shot in the head responding to domestic abuse call, four people are dead in a group home shooting in Kansas, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck a remote Alaska region early Monday morning.

  1. According to the National Weather Service, a total of at least four tornadoes touched down in several small east Texas towns Saturday afternoon, killing four people and injuring more than 50 others. Canton, Texas suffered extensive damage from a tornado that also overturned a large number of vehicles on Interstate 20 and may have killed five and injured dozens of others. In central Arkansas, while out of his vehicle checking damages and water conditions on Highway 25, Fire Chief Doug Deckard, a 40-year veteran of the Cove Creek/Pearson Fire Department, was struck and killed. 
  2. Severe weather impacting the South over the weekend has resulted in the deaths of at least 13 individuals, with two children who remained missing as of late Sunday night. Tornadoes, heavy rains, and flooding hit several states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. The storms resulted in widespread damages and power outages, downed trees, and dozens of water rescues across the impacted areas. The search for two children, ages 4 and 18 months, separated from their mother after being stuck in high water on Saturday in Arkansas, became a recovery operation on Sunday evening.
  3. A pool birthday party at a luxury apartment complex in La Jolla, California turned deadly when a gunman opened fire, killing one person and critically injuring others. The gunman, Peter Selis, a 49-year-old male whom police believe lived in the apartment complex, was sitting drinking beer near the pool when he began shooting partygoers, striking four women, one of which later died, and three men. Selis was shot and killed by police after pointing his gun at them. 
  4. According to reports, another North Korean ballistic missile launch in the early morning hours on Saturday ended in failure when the missile exploded just after take-off. The missile was fired from a location north of Pyongyang and is the second failed launch within two weeks. Tensions have risen in the area as North Korea has refused to adhere to anti-nuclear testing bans and the United States sent a naval fleet to the area and has begun installing a Thaad anti-missile system in South Korea.
  5. On Saturday night, a group of eight Navy personnel were walking to an apartment complex on Perdido Key on the Florida panhandle near Pensacola when they were struck from behind by a car. Police have arrested 56-year-old Eric Duncan Watt for driving under the influence after striking the individuals, two of which were critically injured. Other injuries ranged from serious to minor and one individual did not sustain any injuries.
  6. A Detroit, Michigan police officer is in critical condition after being shot in the head while responding to a domestic abuse call late Sunday night. A man from within the building, but allegedly uninvolved with the domestic abuse incident, opened fire on the responding police officers. The suspected gunman was shot and killed by police officers in the ensuing gunfight. The officer, a 14-year veteran of the force, was in surgery early Monday and in very critical condition according to Detroit police Chief James Craig.
  7. Four people are dead and one person is injured following a shooting at a group home in Topeka, Kansas that provides care to special-needs individuals. Police were alerted to the shooting by someone inside the home who called Shawnee County dispatchers just before 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Police believe that the individual responsible for the shooting died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  8. A large magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck a remote region of Alaska early Monday morning, but no tsunami warnings were issued and no injuries have been reported. Several small earthquakes also hit portions of the West Coast on Sunday, including Alaska and California. Two small earthquakes struck Alaska's Kodiak region on Sunday, the first a magnitude 3.8 occurred in the early morning hours, and the second at around 1:30 p.m., registered a magnitude 3.3. Shortly before the second Alaskan earthquake, another small quake - a 3.1 magnitude - struck inland California, just south of San Bernardino at around 1:00 p.m. There were no reports of injuries or damages from any of the quakes.

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.