EDM Evening Update: Flooding Along the Mississippi, Damages From Severe Storms, Executive Action for Gun Control
EDM Monday Evening Briefing January 4, 2016: Flooding continues to occur along the Mississippi, damages from severe storms reaches $10 Billion, and President set to take executive action on gun control this week.
Flooding Continues to Impact Communities from Recent Severe Weather Systems
- As flood waters from the swollen Mississippi continue to push southward from Illinois, the river has Memphis in its sight and residents are very concerned. Many people in communities close to the river already have high water and flooding, some the water is almost to their doors.
- Flooding has closed some streets as water levels continue to rise in Memphis.
- Crest levels have been adjusted several times, with the current crest level expected later this week at just under 41 feet, lower than during the 2011 flood.
Levees Protect Communities, But Can Increase Risk
- Some towns located along the Mississippi River still face the threat of flooding once the river crests and saturates the levees that protect many of the communities in the area. Meant to control and restrain floodwaters, these same levees have prevented the natural absorption of water by farmlands and other open spaces, but some say urban sprawl has infringed on areas meant to handle excess water.
Damages for Severe Storms Approximately $10 Billion for 2015
- As severe weather increases and spawns tornadoes and destructive thunderstorms, property damages have reached at least $10 billion dollars per year over the last eight years according to one report. The recent severe storms in December 2015 helped push the year over the $10 Billion threshold again this year.
- Debris clean up from the December 2015 tornadoes that began today is expected to last at least 10 weeks in Garland, Texas.
- Rowlette, Texas did not fare much better and images captured by a drone tell a dramatic story of the devastation and destruction.
- Tornadoes in Tennessee reached a total of seven during the month of number, breaking records.
- The clean up continues in Selmer, Tennessee, impacted by what was originally categorized as an EF3 tornado and upgraded recently to an EF4, where damage assessments are still being calculated.
- Kansas saw a large increase in tornado activity during 2015. Preliminary reports indicate that the state saw a total of 124 tornadoes in 2015, while only 41 confirmed tornadoes occurred in 2014.
President Proposes Executive Action for Gun Control
- President Obama announced this afternoon that he would be taking executive action on gun control measures and will outline the measures more fully on Tuesday.
- The President is insisting that his proposed gun control through executive actions is legal and something needs to be done to help curb violence.
- The President states the actions are meant to help increase background checks, and close the 'gun show loophole.'
- Actions will also require gun show dealers, or others buying and selling firearms, to acquire a federal license in order to sell guns. This would require them to conduct a background check on individuals purchasing the guns.
- President Obama indicates that the measures will likely help reduce lives lost, although it will likely not stop mass shootings.