EDM Friday Briefing: Gasoline Pipeline Spill, Earthquake Research, Tropical Storm Julia, Columbus Police
Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 16, 2016: A gasoline pipeline spill in Alabama causes big problems on the East Coast, scientists say that moon phases can trigger large earthquakes, Tropical Storm Julia lingers near the Carolinas, a Columbus police officer fatally shoots a 13-year-old, Zika cases continue to rise in Florida, and both West Virginia and Louisiana struggle to recover from devastating floods.
- Both Alabama and Georgia declared a state of emergency following a pipeline spill that released a quarter-million gallons of gasoline near Birmingham. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley made an emergency declaration Thursday, following Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's declaration earlier in the week. The executive orders from each state's governor aim to prevent gasoline outages due to the massive spill. The entire East Coast may now face gas shortages and price hikes due to the pipeline leak.
- A recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience linked lunar cycles to large earthquakes. According to the study, a full moon can trigger large quakes. Scientists connected how the alignment of the sun and moon -- and resulting changes in tides -- increased both the probability of the occurrence of an earthquake and even led to more powerful earthquakes when conditions occurred.
- Tropical Storm Julia gained strength once again, with sustained winds reaching 40 mph yesterday evening. As of last night, the storm was centered about 175 miles southeast of Charleston, SC after dumping rain across the coastline of both Florida and Georgia Wednesday. Weather experts predict that it will continue drifting off the Carolinas into the weekend.
- Columbus, OH police officials confirmed that a police officer fatally shot a 13-year-old with a BB gun on Wednesday night. Officers responding to a report of an armed robbery encountered 13-year-old Tyre King, who allegedly pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waistband, and opened fire. The boy was pronounced dead shortly after the incident.
- Florida health officials confirmed 18 more cases of Zika in the state yesterday -- 11 travel-related and seven non-travel related cases. In response to the growing problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be sending reinforcements in an effort to clear up the testing backlog that currently exists in the state. Some Florida residents have had to wait up to five weeks for results recently.
- Eight counties in West Virginia remain disaster areas more than two months after devastating floods impacted the state. FEMA approved more than $10.4 million in federal aid in early July. The continued struggles of residents to recover from the floods prompted state officials to request extra funding from the White House this week.
- President Barack Obama requested $2.6 billion from Congress this week to fund recovery efforts in Louisiana following devastating flooding that occurred last month. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards headed to Washington D.C. yesterday to further push Congress for federal disaster aid. The August floods resulted in estimated damages of $8.7 billion.
- Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Weather Attribution (WWA) teamed up to conduct a rapid assessment of the role of climate in recent, disastrous Louisiana floods. The scientists discovered that climate change increased chances of torrential rains in the state by at least 40 percent.
- A recent study by a team of 10 researchers looked to identify communities in the U.S. that will be most affected by the growing threat of wildfires and resulting air pollution. According to the study, three regions in particular -- northern California, western Oregon and the Great Plains -- are likely to suffer the highest exposure to wildfire smoke in the coming years.
- Brazilian researchers found a strong link between Zika virus and microcephaly in a case-control study. The link between Zika and microcephaly has long been speculated, and this study is considered another piece of the puzzle connecting the two. Researchers noted that these findings are preliminary in nature, and will eventually complete a full case-control study.