Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Travelers Faced with Closures, Delays, and Cancellations at End of Holiday Weekend

EDM Monday Briefing: Travelers Faced with Closures, Delays, and Cancellations at End of Holiday Weekend


Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 26, 2018: A chemical leak at a nearby factory shut down a major bridge across the Delaware River on Sunday evening, Iran was struck with a major earthquake Sunday night along its border with Iraq, firefighters have reached full containment of the Camp Fire as the search for victims continues, a winter weather system prompted blizzard warnings and caused flight cancellations across the Midwest and Great Lakes regions Sunday, the WHO reports infants are the latest victims of Ebola in Congo's recent outbreak of the disease, Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen issued a strong warning after illegal immigrants attempted to breech the border in San Ysidro, California, the FDA may have linked the recent recall of romaine lettuce to the West Coast, and air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area is projected to be labeled as good by Wednesday.

  1. A chemical leak at a nearby factory shut down a major bridge in Delaware on Sunday night, bringing traffic to a screeching halt on one of the busiest travel days of the year. The chemical leak shut down the Delaware Memorial Bridge, twin suspension bridges that carry north and southbound traffic on Interstate 295, along with southbound New Jersey turnpike traffic, on eight lanes across the Delaware River. The bridge was closed at around 5:00 p.m., and Hazmat trucks and emergency responders blocked access to the bridge while traffic was diverted to other routes and bridges.  
  2. A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Iran along its western border with Iraq on Sunday night, injuring at least 170 people as residents fled to the streets. The epicenter of the earthquake occurred in the same location of the deadly quake last year that killed at least 600--in the Kermanshah Province in Sarpol-e Zahab. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Sunday night's quake registered 6.3, had a shallow depth of 6.2 miles, downed power lines, caused power outages, and damaged buildings across the region
  3. The deadliest wildfire in California history, the Camp Fire, which began on November 8 along Camp Creek Road near Jarbo Gap in Butte County, has now been fully contained. Nearly 7 inches of rain that fell over a three day period helped extinguish the wildfire, which caused widespread destruction, scorched 153,336 acres, nearly wiped out the town of Paradise, and killed at least 84 people. The latest reports indicate that about 560 people remain unaccounted for from the deadly blaze that destroyed 13,972 residences, 528 commercial and 4,293 other buildings, and displaced thousands of residents.  
  4. A snowstorm moved through much of the Midwest on Sunday, creating havoc for travelers trying to return home from the long holiday weekend. The weather system prompted blizzard warnings for counties in Northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin and caused the cancellations of at least 1,200 flights, including flights in and out of Kansas City and Chicago. In Nebraska, multiple accidents on snow covered Interstate 80 forced emergency responders to shut down the highway between Lincoln and Omaha, and schools throughout the Midwest were closed Monday.  
  5. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that an alarming number of Ebola cases are being reported among an age group that normally does not contract the virus--babies. As the outbreak continues in Congo, the United Nations health agency reported 36 new cases of Ebola, including seven newborn babies and infants under the age of two, who are now infected with the virus. Another six cases have been reported in children from the ages of 2-17, with a total number of confirmed cases in the outbreak at 346, including 175 deaths, in what is now the country's worst outbreak of the disease in recorded history.   
  6. Illegal immigrants rushed the border in San Ysidro, California on Sunday, throwing projectiles at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and destroying parts of the border fence. CBP agents used tear gas to drive back the illegal immigrants that rushed the border, and Homeland Security Secretary, Kierstjen Nielsen confirmed that the United States, in the interest of national security and to protect its people, will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry. Nielsen also stated, "anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violate's our nation's sovereignty," the U.S. will seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.  
  7. A major recall of romaine lettuce that was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before Thanksgiving has likely been linked to the West Coast. The recall was issued due to the likely presence of E. coli in the lettuce, which has sickened 32 people in 11 states, 13 of whom have been hospitalized, with at least 18 people in Canada who also have become sick from eating the tainted lettuce. The FDA noted that while no single source has been identified, consumers should avoid eating all types and products containing romaine lettuce, including hearts of romaine, whole heads, and precut/premixed salads blends, including spring mix and Caesar salad.  
  8. Air quality is improving across the Bay Area in California as wildfires throughout the state, including the nearby Camp Fire, are fully contained and the region has seen some significant rainfall. Air quality levels were among some of the worst in the world as heavy smoke from the Camp Fire drifted into the Bay Area, prompting unhealthy air quality warnings as recent as November 20. Shifting winds and recent rains have helped squelch the fires and improve air quality, which should be labeled as "good" as early as Wednesday for the Bay Area and surrounding regions.  

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.