Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 31, 2017: Tropical Storm Emily forms just off the coast of Tampa, Florida, nine people were struck and injured when a van plowed into a crowd in Los Angeles, firefighters responded to nearly a dozen new wildfires in Washington on Sunday, a dozen inmates escaped a jail in Walker County Alabama, a heat dome has its sights set on the Western United States, Typhoon Nesat blows ashore in Taiwan, police engaged in a standoff with an armed suspect in San Francisco issue a shelter-in-place advisory, and an earthquake strikes the Hawaii Islands Channel.
- Tropical Storm Emily has formed just off the east coast of Florida, near Tampa, and will quickly move onshore and across the state, with a turn toward the northeast predicted later today and tonight. Wind speeds have increased to 45 mph, with higher gusts, but little strengthening is forecast throughout the day. Tropical storm warnings have been issued from Anclote River to Bonita Beach, as the storm is moving east at about 8 mph and has already pushed rain into parts of central and south Florida.
- Nine people were injured when a white van plowed into the crowded outdoor area of a restaurant in Los Angeles, California on Sunday. Eight people were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of injuries, including one person in critical condition and three in serious condition. An off-duty LAFD firefighter was also hit, but did not sustain any injuries. Officials said the crash appeared accidental and the driver, who remained on scene, was placed under arrest.
- Firefighters responded to nearly a dozen new wildfires that began in Washington on Sunday, including the Glade 3 Fire near Mabton which continues to grow after already consuming 5,000 acres. A Type III incident management team was sent to help fight the fire, which was threatening homes, although no evacuation orders had been issued as of Sunday evening. Another blaze, the Suiattle Fire, burning in a rural area of Snohomish County, has scorched about 20 acres and firefighters continue to battle the Diamond Creek fire that began on July 22, as it continues to burn on steep slopes in a remote area in Pasayten drainage basin. The fire, which has consumed over 5,000 acres, is only 10 percent contained.
- A brazen jailbreak from the Walker County Jail in Alabama on Sunday resulted in the escape of 12 inmates, one of which had not been captured as of early Monday. A massive manhunt, including off-duty personnel, continues for the remaining escaped convict, Brady Andrew Kilpatrick, 24, who was in jail for alleged drug offenses. There is little information regarding the details of just how the prisoners escaped, but an investigation is ongoing.
- According to meteorologists, an abnormally strong ridge of high pressure is set to build over the West from the state of California up to Washington, and into Idaho and Canada. The strong high pressure ridge will create a heat dome over this area of the nation, leading to high temperatures that could break heat records across the area. Triple digits are likely to be the norm along the I-5 corridor from northern California into Oregon and Washington, and officials caution individuals about the risks associated with such high heat, including heat stroke and power blackouts.
- Typhoon Nesat brought high winds and torrential rains to Taiwan on Saturday, forcing thousands of evacuations, causing power outages, and injuring at least 130 people. Nearly 80 first responders were also injured, two seriously--most due to flying debris. Nearly half a million people were left without power in the wake of the storm, and nearly all flights, international and domestic, were cancelled due to the weather conditions. Some of the worst impacts occurred in the southern area of the country where massive flooding from nearly 44 inches of rain blocked roads and trapped people in Pintung.
- Police responding to a shots fired call in the Corona Heights Park area of San Francisco, California late Sunday night found a female victim suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Police officers then located an armed suspect, however the armed individual refused to leave his home, resulting in police issuing a shelter-in-place advisory for the area of the incident. As of early Monday morning, negotiations were still ongoing between police and the armed suspect, and police were asking the public to avoid the area for safety reasons.
- A magnitude 4.2 earthquake was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey between the islands of Hawaii and Maui around 2:01 a.m. HST on Sunday. The earthquake occurred in the Hawaii Islands Channel, at a depth of 11 miles, and experts believe the shake posed no threat because it was a result of the bending of the oceanic plate from the weight of the island. The earthquake did not prompt a tsunami warning and had no apparent impact on the ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) July 31, 2017
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) July 31, 2017
— Maui Now (@MauiNOW) July 30, 2017