Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Torrential Rainfall in California Triggers Deadly Debris-Flow in Santa Barbara County

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Torrential Rainfall in California Triggers Deadly Debris-Flow in Santa Barbara County


Emergency and disaster management briefing for Jan. 10, 2018: Torrential rainfall in California triggered a deadly debris-flow in Santa Barbara County, hope for survivors aboard the Iranian oil tanker remains even after an early morning explosion, a major earthquake in the Caribbean Sea is felt for hundreds of miles, Tunisian police fire tear gas at protestors during a clash, officials file terrorist charges against a man who tried to crash an Amtrak train, police find a 14-year-old dead from a gunshot wound in a southern Arizona elementary school bathroom, health officials warn anyone who visited a West Jordan, Utah 7-Eleven of possible exposure to hepatitis A, and Ohio suffers its first flu-related pediatric death.

  1. A debris-flow in Santa Barbara County, California has killed at least 15 people, injured another 25, and left another two dozen missing after at least 5 inches of rain fell in the early morning hours on Tuesday. The rainfall occurred over the burn scar from the Thomas Fire, California's largest wildfire in history, sending mud, rocks, trees, and debris plummeting into Montecito--where it destroyed at least three homes. First responders performed multiple rescues from vehicles and structures, but waist deep mudflow, debris, downed power lines and trees delayed access and challenged their efforts.
  2. The cause of the collision between the Chinese freighter and the Iranian oil tanker is unclear, but . Rescuers have recovered one body, but there is hope that survivors may be found in the engine room, which lies about 45 feet below the water level, and is not directly affected by the fire. However, an explosion on Wednesday aboard the tanker forced rescue crews to retreat and it is unknown what triggered the explosion or how much damage the tanker sustained from the blast.  
  3. A strong earthquake struck off the northern coast of Honduras Tuesday evening in the Caribbean Sea, at a very shallow depth of about 6.2 miles. The quake registered a 7.6 magnitude and was felt as far north as the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, and some 323 miles east of the quake, in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. The quake triggered a tsunami warning for a short time, although there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage. 
  4. Police in Tunisia clashed with anti-government protestors storming a Carrefour supermarket in the capital on Tuesday. The clash resulted in police lobbing tear gas at the storming protestors.  The clash comes after protests erupted in at least 12 towns across the nation on Monday, where residents were opposing price and tax increases imposed by the government. At least one person died as a result of those protests. 
  5. Terrorist charges have been filed against an alleged white supremacist that tried to wreck an Amtrak train in Nebraska in October. Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, Missouri, allegedly gained access to a secure area on the train, messed with controls, and applied the emergency brake on the train, scattering passengers and knocking out electrical power to the train. Reports indicate that police found a loaded firearm and other weapons in Wilson's backpack.
  6. A boy was found dead in an elementary school bathroom in Cochise County, Arizona, between the towns of Sierra Vista and Hereford. Police found the 14 year-old boy on the floor in the bathroom, dead from a gunshot wound, after responding to an active shooter call from the school at around 9:20 a.m. on Tuesday. The campus was placed on lockdown, but was quickly cleared of any threat, and authorities are investigating the possibility that the death was a suicide.
  7. Health officials are warning people that visited a 7-Eleven in West Jordan, Utah that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A. It is estimated that at least 2,000 may have been exposed to hepatitis A if they used a restroom or consumed any of the following items: self-serve beverages, fresh fruit, or any item from the store's hot food case, including pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings, or taquitos. Officials are urging anyone who visited the store and used a restroom or purchased the food/drink types listed between December 26 and January 3, to contact the health department immediately for a preventive injection, unless they have already been vaccinated against hepatitis A. 
  8. A four-year-old boy in Montgomery County, Ohio has died from the flu. It is the first pediatric death to affect the state this flu-season, and at least 2,104 confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations have occurred across the state so far in January. Officials say the low efficacy of the flu-vaccination against the H3N2 virus may be contributing to one of the worst flu outbreaks the nation has seen, and many of the hospitalizations and deaths in young children and those over 65 are due to this strain of the flu.

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.