Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Train Derailment Sends Multiple Cars Into River

EDM Monday Briefing: Train Derailment Sends Multiple Cars Into River


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 24, 2o18: A freight train derailment in plunged multiple rail cars into a river, receding floodwaters left thousands of dead fish on I-40 in North Carolina, Kirk became the 11th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, a strong storm system dumped over 11 inches of rain in parts of Oklahoma, flash-flooding in Texas required the rescue of nearly 60 people from a wedding venue, two rare tornadoes touched down in Ottawa on Friday and caused widespread destruction and damage, bananas donated to a Texas prison had cocaine hidden in the boxes, and New Jersey records its first death in 2018 from the West Nile Virus.

  1. A freight train derailment sent multiple rail cars plunging into the Floyd River near Alton, Iowa on Sunday. The train, operated by Union Pacific, was carrying industrial sand and soybean oil when about 38 cars derailed while crossing the river. According to local emergency management officials, the train, which carried 95 cars and was traveling from Mankato, Minnesota to North Platte, Nebraska, was not leaking any hazardous materials into the river or air as a result of the derailment. 
  2. Receding floodwaters have left thousands of rotting, dead fish on Interstate 40 in Pender County, North Carolina, and local firefighters were seen blasting the fish off the highway with a fire hose. Parts of I-40 are expected to remain closed for another week or more, and many smaller roadways remained closed due to road and bridge washout in areas that include, among others, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Pender, and Sampson. Although portions of I-40 remain closed, Interstate 95 was reopened to all traffic on Sunday for the first time since being inundated from floodwaters resulting from Hurricane Florence. 
  3. Tropical Storm Kirk formed in the Atlantic Ocean and became the 11th named storm of 2018 on Saturday, but has since downgraded into a tropical depression. Weather experts at the National Weather Service (NWS) indicate that Kirk could further degenerate into a trough of low pressure in the next day or two. According to the NWS, the system poses no threat to land, and there are no watches or warnings in effect. 
  4. A strong weather system, stretching from Texas to New Jersey and into Canada, dumped at least 15 inches of rain in parts of Oklahoma on Friday, prompting flash-flood alerts in central and south-central portions of the state. The torrential rainfall flooded roadways--forcing road closures, and also washed out drainage pipes, creating at least two large sinkholes in Oklahoma County. The system also produced flooding in Texas, and spawned two rare tornadoes in Ottawa, Canada. 
  5. Swift-moving floodwaters inundated a wedding venue outside Austin, Texas, requiring the rescue of dozens of people on Friday night. Officials sent alerts to the public to warn of flooding, however, the rapidly rising water quickly inundated the venue--and swept away tents and personal belongings, and piled cars together. Local officials noted that more than 60 people had to be rescued from the overnight venue, located next to the South Gabriel River, and about 30 miles northwest of Austin.  
  6. All public and Catholic schools were closed on Monday in Ottawa, Canada after two rare tornadoes touched down on Friday in the region that were spawned by a strong weather system that stretched from Texas to Canada. The tornadoes, categorized as an EF-3 and an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, caused widespread destruction and damage in both Ottawa and Gatineau, including power outages, destroyed homes and businesses, and dozens of people being injured, although no fatalities were reported. Officials also urged residents to work from home if possible Monday morning, and to remain off the roadways so clean up could continue in the aftermath of Friday's historic tornadoes.  
  7. Bananas that were donated to a prison on Friday in Texas held a surprise--nearly $18 million in cocaine was found in the boxes. Sergeants who picked up the boxes found a white, powdery substance beneath them, which turned out to be cocaine. A total of 540 packages of cocaine were found in the shipment, which contained 45 boxes of bananas that were donated because the fruit was already ripe, but officials are unsure as to when or how the cocaine entered the shipment and an investigation is currently underway.  
  8.  A New Jersey man who died Saturday from the West Nile Virus became the state's first confirmed death from the virus in 2018. The man, Fred Maikisch, 62, was taken off life support Saturday by family members after an MRI revealed there was no hope for recovery due to severe damage from the virus. Although most people infected with the West Nile Virus recover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 150 develop a severe illness that infects the nervous system, including meningitis and encephalitis, and can lead to death.  

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.