Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Hurricane Dorian Strengthening, Could Strike Florida as Category 4 Storm
EDM Friday Briefing: Hurricane Dorian Strengthening, Could Strike Florida as Category 4 Storm

EDM Friday Briefing: Hurricane Dorian Strengthening, Could Strike Florida as Category 4 Storm

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 30, 2019: Strengthening Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in Florida sometime Monday afternoon--possibly as a Category 4 storm; Florida's governor has declared a state of emergency for every county in the state ahead of Hurricane Dorian; Indiana held a mock disaster training to help them be prepared for a radioactive release from the nearby Cook Nuclear Plant; September is National Preparedness month and Tennessee is promoting increased disaster resilience among its youth and residents; the Swan Lake Fire continues to grow but additional resources are helping firefighters contain its growth; a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon Wednesday morning; radioactive equipment that was stolen from a construction site in Colorado poses a serious danger to anyone who handles the unshielded devices; and South Carolina held a nuclear disaster training that focused on evacuations.

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1. Floridians are preparing for the likely impact of Hurricane Dorian projected for some time Monday afternoon. As of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian has gained strength, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and a minimum central pressure of 972 mb, or 28.70 inches of mercury. Dorian is moving at about 12 mph, and forecast to move over portions of the northwestern Bahamas sometime Sunday.

2. The governor of Florida declared a state of emergency on Thursday for all of the state's 67 counties ahead of Hurricane Dorian. State officials are urging residents to be prepared with a disaster plan and to have enough essential supplies for at least seven days, including water, food, and medicines. The declaration allows the National Guard to be placed on standby alert, and also gives state and local governments time to prepare communities and coordinate resources with the federal government.

3. The Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Berrien County, Michigan was the focus of a mock disaster held in Indian on Thursday one that centered around a massive radioactive leak from the facility. The plant, located along the shore of Lake Michigan, is less than 50 miles away from the town of Rochester, the site of this year's mock disaster. Goals for the mock disaster were to prepare first responders and emergency management teams for unusual events not normally encountered, and to increase public preparedness through awareness.

4. September is National Preparedness Month, and the governor of Tennessee is asking residents, businesses, and communities to make disaster resilience a priority. The theme for 2019 is "Prepared. Not Scared." with topics that include youth preparedness and disaster costs, and also encourages everyone to have a plan, along with an emergency kit, before a disaster strikes.

5. Additional crews and firefighting resources have been added to fight the growing Swan Lake Fire that has been burning since June 5 in the Kenai-Kodiak Area of Alaska. There are now nine helicopters, four bulldozers, 27 engines, and 21 hand crews with a total of more than 700 personnel assigned to fight the fire, which continues to grow. The massive blaze has now scorched nearly 162,000 acres, and is growing by 1,000-2,000 acres a day, although containment remains at about 20 percent.

6. No injuries or damages were reported after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon on Thursday. The quake struck in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 7 miles, about 150 miles offshore from the city of Brandon, just after 8:00 a.m. Although strong, the tremor was caused by a strike-slip fault in the Blanco Fracture Zone, and according to geologists, had nothing to do with the well-known Cascadia Fault.

7. Radioactive equipment was discovered missing from a construction site at a college campus in Colorado on Monday. Authorities believe the radioactive items--which contain cesium-137 and americium-241 and are shielded in appropriate cases--were stolen, and pose a danger to anyone who attempts to handle the unshielded devices. The incident occurred at the Colorado School of Mines campus and the equipment belongs to Ninyo & Moore, who is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the safe return of the items.

8. Majority of residents in South Carolina live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant, so emergency managers around the state try to stay prepared for the worst. On Tuesday, the South Carolina Emergency Management Department (SCEMD), in conjunction with state, county, and local officials and other agencies, practiced how the state would respond to a nuclear disaster at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. For this drill, the focus was on evacuations, including specific evacuation zones, routes, and shelters, along with waterway access restrictions.

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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.