EDM Wednesday Briefing: Tropical Storm Cindy Churns in the Gulf of Mexico
Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 21, 2017: Tropical Storm Cindy churns in the Gulf of Mexico, residents brace for flash floods and flooding by heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Cindy, much of the western United States is in the grips of a major heat wave, soaring temperatures and heat cause power outages and canceled flights, the Holcomb wildfire spreads amid the massive heat wave, police in New Mexico urge an antiques dealer to call off his treasure hunt, pro-ISIS militants storm a school in the Philippines, and dash cam video of the police shooting victim, Philando Castile, was made public on Tuesday.
- Tropical Storm Cindy is churning in the Gulf of Mexico and has set its sights on southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas with landfall predicted sometime early Thursday. A tropical storm warning has been issued from San Luis Pass, Texas to the Alabama-Florida border and means that tropical storm conditions are expected in these areas within 36 hours. The track is forecast to make a north-northwest turn, then a turn northward with a forward speed of approximately 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds are currently at 60 mph, with gusts reaching speeds of near 70 mph. Heavy rainfall, anywhere from 6 to 12 inches is likely to occur, presenting flooding/flash flood risks for those in the path of the storm.
- Residents along the Gulf of Mexico are bracing for impacts from Tropical Storm Cindy as it makes its way north-northwest, with heavy rainfall amounts forecast to potentially cause life-threatening flash flooding/flooding. Moisture from the storm is already affecting regions along the coast, many of which were under tornado watches and warnings Wednesday morning. Stormy conditions are mostly being experienced to the north and east of the low pressure center, which will expand further on Thursday and into Friday ahead of a cold front arriving from the Midwest.
- A major heat wave gripping the West has tied all-time high temperature records in many places including Las Vegas, Nevada, Needles, California, and Phoenix, Arizona. The high heat has also resulted in power outages and flight cancellations and may have contributed to road buckling on Highway 50 in Sacramento. The soaring temperatures have also led to hot and dry conditions that have sparked and fueled wildfires, including a grass fire that began during the evening commute in San Fransisco, California on Monday.
- Sweltering heat forced the cancellation of multiple flights at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona due to aircraft engine designs and their maximum operating temperatures. American Airlines canceled 43 flights operated by Bombardier CRJ aircraft whose engines have a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees fahrenheit. The temperature in Phoenix on Tuesday was to hit 120 degrees fahrenheit according to the National Weather Service, and experts indicate that such high temperatures affect engine output, which increases the length of runway and speed needed for takeoff.
- Amid the heat wave gripping the west, firefighters continue to battle the Holcomb fire raging near Big Bear Lake in California in the San Bernardino Mountains. An abrupt shift in winds resulted in an evacuation order being issued for an area near Holcomb Valley Road and Highway 18 which has since been lifted. Authorities are cautioning residents that wind shifts may still occur so they should remain prepared. More than 1,000 fire fighters have been assigned to fight the fire that has consumed more than 1,200 acres and was only 10 percent contained as of Tuesday evening.
- Police in New Mexico are urging the millionaire antiques dealer, Forrest Fenn, to end the treasure hunt that has put the lives of treasure hunters and first responders at risk. Fenn claims to have hidden a cache of jewels and other artifacts somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, with clues to the treasure's whereabouts in a cryptic poem he wrote, "The Thrill of the Chase." Authorities believe that at least two people have now died while searching for the treasure, and officials say it places first responders at risk and strains valuable state resources.
- Nearly 300 pro-ISIS rebels stormed a village and school in the Philippines and engaged the military in a gun battle in what officials believe may be a distraction to divert military attention away from the militant siege on Marawi city. Early Wednesday morning, Muslim militants stormed Pigcawayan in North Cotabato and authorities have indicated that most villagers fled to to safety but are investigating reports that five civilians were still being held by militants.
- The dash cam video of the shooting of Philando Castile by St. Anthony police officer, Geronimo Yanez, was released Tuesday sparking outrage from its community. Yanez was acquitted by a jury of peers on Friday, June 16, following a two-week long trial and four-and-a-half days of deliberations by jurors, spawning protests throughout the city and leading to eighteen arrests. Shortly after the verdict was announced, the St. Anthony Police Department indicated that Yanez would no longer be employed with its organization.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 21, 2017
It's too hot to fly in the West. Scorching heat wave is breaking records. Here's how to beat the heat: https://t.co/TgSXUuXcE8
— CNN Weather Center (@CNNweather) June 20, 2017
— Fred Bentler (@Bentler) June 21, 2017
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) June 21, 2017