Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Electrical Arc Causes a Blue Sky in New York and Prompts a Full Ground Stop at LaGuardia Airport

EDM Friday Briefing: Electrical Arc Causes a Blue Sky in New York and Prompts a Full Ground Stop at LaGuardia Airport


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 28, 2018: A substation electrical fault turned the sky blue in New York Thursday; authorities have revealed that the alleged California cop-killer still on the run is in the country illegally; winter weather wreaked havoc on holiday travelers across the Central Plains and Midwest; aerial footage reveals damage sustained in Sicily from its recent earthquakes; severe air turbulence caused inflight injuries and diverted the flight to Austin, Texas; residents in Venezuela were abruptly awakened by an earthquake just before dawn Thursday; police officers shot and killed in the line of duty increased by 12 percent in 2018; and a massive brawl involving mostly teenagers shut down a mall in Connecticut Wednesday evening.

    1. Reports of the sky turning blue and explosions in Long Island City and Astoria were the result of an electrical fault at a substation that knocked out power and turned the sky blue. Con Ed stated early Friday morning that an electrical arc was causing the blue light, and the fault had caused a small fire that was quickly extinguished. Power outages also occurred due to the substation fault, which affected operations at La Guardia Airport, and prompted a ground stop that resulted in delays and cancellations, and also disrupted service on the 7 train.

    1. Police say that the suspect who shot and killed a police officer on Wednesday--and that they are still hunting for--is in the country illegally. The suspect reportedly shot Cpl. Ronil Singh during a traffic stop for a DUI investigation in Newman, California, then fled the scene when backup officers arrived. Authorities noted that the alleged suspect, whose vehicle has already been located, is armed and dangerous and anyone who sees the suspect should call 9-1-1 immediately.

    1. A winter storm tracking from the Central Plains to the upper Midwest on Thursday prompted a plethora of weather warnings, watches, and advisories. A blizzard warning was in effect for parts of North and South Dakota as well as parts of Kansas, Minnesota, and Nebraska, and as of Thursday afternoon, at least 11 inches of snow had fallen in the Moorhead-Alexandria area of western Minnesota--and it was still snowing. The weather system prompted no-travel warnings, and officials urged holiday travelers to delay driving unless it was absolutely necessary, due to heavy snow-covered roads, low visibility, gusty winds and icy conditions.

    1. New aerial footage of the swarm of earthquakes that struck Sicily after the Mount Etna eruption shows the extent of damage caused throughout the area. One of the most heavily populated districts in Sicily, Catania, suffered widespread severe damage to buildings, and two of the strongest aftershocks--4.3 and 4.8 magnitude quakes--left at least 600 people homeless. An 80-year-old man was pulled from the rubble of his home, and authorities state that 28 people were also injured during those stronger quakes.

    1. A flight attendant and passenger were injured after the plane they were traveling on encountered severe turbulence. American Eagle Flight 5781, operated by Mesa Airlines, which departed from San Luis Potosi, Mexico en route to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, had 75 passengers and 4 crew members on board when it was diverted to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Wednesday night after it encountered severe weather turbulence. The plane landed safely in Austin, and the passenger and flight attendant, both of whom suffered non-life-threatening emergencies, were transported to a local hospital.

    1. Venezuela was impacted by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake early Thursday, jolting residents from their sleep and causing them to flee into the streets. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake struck just before 5:00 a.m.and was centered in the town of San Diego, which is about 102 miles west of the capital city, Caracas. The earthquake struck at a depth of about 6 miles, was felt across seven states, and a 5.o magnitude quake quickly followed just a few minutes later. Although there were no reports of injuries or casualties, the quakes did damage some buildings and knocked over walls in and near the city.

    1. Preliminary results from a new report state that the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty has increased from 2017 numbers. The report, issued by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, notes that, "firearms related-fatalities were the leading cause of officer deaths in 2018." A total of 52 officers have been shot and killed so far in 2018, an increase from the 46 officers who died from guns in 2017.

    1. A mall in Connecticut was closed Wednesday due to a massive brawl that broke out involving hundreds of people, majority of them teenagers. Police responded to a call about a fight at the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester, Connecticut around 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, and arrived to find several disturbances that included as many as 300 people--mostly teenagers--engaged in various fights. It took responding officers nearly an hour to break up the fighting, and police arrested three young adults and one juvenile in connection with the brawls.


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.