Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Tennessee Wildfire, Atlanta Twister, Officers Shot in Arizona

EDM Friday Briefing: Tennessee Wildfire, Atlanta Twister, Officers Shot in Arizona


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 2, 2016

    1. The death toll from the devastating wildfires that swept through eastern Tennessee stands at 11, but officials expect it to rise. Emergency and disaster personnel have widened their search efforts, but authorities noted that some buildings in and around Sevier County were destroyed to the point that finding and identifying victims would require a forensic approach. Meanwhile, officials are set to provide the public with a computerized map which will be updated as the searches progresses. The map will show which structures were damaged or destroyed. In some areas, the aluminum rims of cars and other vehicles melted.

    1. The metropolitan Atlanta area is cleaning up from a confirmed tornado that touched down Wednesday. According to local reports, the twister was almost a mile long and 100 yards wide with top wind speeds of 100 mph. The National Weather Service reported that the tornado materialized in Mableton, Ga., and then proceeded northward. More than 50 counties, including Clayton, Cobb, and DeKalb were placed under a tornado watch. The Atlanta-area tornado came on the heels of at least 13 other twisters that damaged structures and uprooted trees in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
    2. An aggravated assault suspect in Tucson, Ariz., opened fire on the two police officers sent to arrest him. Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus stated Thursday that both officers were shot and injured. One of the officers was is in critical but stable condition, while the other was in good condition. “This highlights the fact that we are dealing with very dangerous individuals who are willing to use firearms on police officers,” said Magnus. The suspect in the case died at the scene. The two men became the second and third Tucson police officers shot in the line of duty in the past six weeks. On Oct. 24, Officer Robert Miranda was shot by a suspect on the south side of the city, but he sustained only minor injuries.

    1. The pilot of the doomed charter plane which crashed into the Andes Mountains in Colombia earlier this week reportedly told ground controllers that his airplane had run out of fuel. In the audiotape from the air traffic tower, the pilot is heard repeatedly requesting permission to land due to a "total electric failure" and a "lack of fuel." The crash killed nearly the entire squad of Chapecoense, a soccer team that plays in the Brazilian league. Meanwhile, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were dispatched from the U.S. to Colombia to help in the investigation.
    2. A woman aboard a United Airlines flight from New Orleans to Houston inexplicably jumped from the plane as it was taxiing into a restricted area earlier this week. Immediately after the flight landed, the woman opened an emergency door on Flight 1982 and leaped out. Passengers sat on the tarmac for over an hour while law enforcement personnel tracked down the fleeing woman. The FBI was called in but turned the case back to local police after deeming there was no federal jurisdiction. The yet-unnamed woman who jumped was caught and is undergoing a psychological evaluation.
    3. Tropical Cyclone Nada has developed to the east of Sri Lanka and will impact southern India this weekend. Torrential rainfall will increase the risk of flooding inland. “Nada will rapidly weaken further after making landfall, becoming a tropical rainstorm as it crosses southern India into Friday evening,” stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty. Farmers are cautiously hoping that Nada will save their crop harvest which has suffered from an unusually disappointing monsoon season.
    4. The death toll has risen to eight following a minor earthquake that caused rocks to fall in a deep underground copper mine in southwest Poland. The quake hit the Rudna copper mine just after 9 p.m. on Tuesday. A frantic search uncovered five deceased miners Tuesday night and a further three Wednesday. The epicenter of the 3.4 magnitude tremor was almost one mile below the surface.
    5. A rare illness known as 'thunderstorm asthma' has killed at least eight people in Australia, while as many as 8,500 people are hospitalized. Patients suffer from breathing issues as the result of a rare combination of weather, fungal spores and pollen. Researchers and scientists believe that global climate change may be causing thunderstorm asthma.


Glynn Cosker Glynn Cosker is the Managing Editor of EDM Digest. Glynn has more than 20 years of writing experience, and he’s the Managing Editor of EDM Digest's sister blog site: In Homeland Security. Born and raised in the U.K., he began his career in government and spent 12 years working in the Consular Section of the British Embassy in Washington – attaining the rank of Vice Consul in the late 1990s. Glynn and his family live in New England.