EDM Monday Briefing: February Breaks Heat Records, Obama Declares Disaster in Texas
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 21, 2016: The NOAA says that February 2016 was the hottest month ever, President Obama declares a major disaster in eastern Texas due to recent floods, and a Russia-bound plane crashes trying to land.
- President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in three counties of Texas after severe storms hit the state last week and caused historic flooding. All three counties -- Jasper, Newton and Orange -- lie on the eastern side of the state bordering Louisiana. The Sabine River, which runs along the border of Texas and Louisiana, experienced its worst flooding since 1884.
- A FlyDubai plane en route to the city of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia crashed, killing all 62 on board. Officials said that the crash may have been caused by a sudden gust of wind. Authorities worked yesterday to recover information from flight recorders to shed light on the incident, but the recorders are badly damaged.
- The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said that two utility districts in the state tested positive for high levels of lead in the water. Despite the positive lead tests, state regulators said that the state does not have a water quality problem and that the positive lead tests are likely due to sampling errors.
- This weekend, the Alabama National Guard (ALNG) led a Rehearsal of Concept drill (ROC) in preparation for hurricane season. ALNG and Emergency Management Agency members monitored a computer-generated hurricane and practiced response efforts in a time-based sequence.
- The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved a new set of cyber security measures aimed to protect the state against the growing threat of cyber attacks on utility companies. New requirements will apply to state-regulated electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities.
- Winter Storm Regis is expected to drop heavy snow on the parts of the East Coast today, with eastern New England getting hit the hardest. Some regions of New England can expect up to a foot of snow, and the National Weather Service (NWS) issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories from New Jersey to Maine. Travel impacts are likely.
- The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval to a new test for mosquito-borne infections. The three-in-one laboratory kit tests for Zika, dengue or chikungunya all at once, and will be distributed nationwide soon.
- Environment Virginia reported that more than 57 million residents in the U.S. have been impacted by multiple weather-related disasters in the past five years. The citizen-based environmental advocacy organization put together an interactive online map that visualizes weather disasters that occurred in the U.S. in that time frame.
- A retired Pennsylvania state trooper reportedly held up a Turnpike toll plaza in Pennsylvania on Sunday morning, fatally shooting a toll collector and a security guard before being shot and killed by a responding trooper. Authorities are still investigating the incident.