Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Hawaii Declares Emergency, Quake Shakes Oklahoma, Arctic Blast Hits Northeast

EDM Monday Briefing: Hawaii Declares Emergency, Quake Shakes Oklahoma, Arctic Blast Hits Northeast


Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 15, 2016: Hawaii declares an emergency over mosquito-borne illnesses, Oklahoma gets hit with its third-strongest earthquake ever, and an arctic freeze blankets the Northeast, as well as parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

  1. Hawaii Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency over mosquito-borne illnesses, as both Zika virus and dengue fever are active threats to residents of the state. While there have been no reported cases Zika virus in the state as of yet, there have been more than 250 reported cases dengue fever. Both illnesses are transmitted by the same type of mosquito.
  2. A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck central and northern Oklahoma this weekend in what was the third strongest quake in the state's history. No damages or injuries have been reported. Oil and gas production in Oklahoma have been linked to the wave of earthquakes in the state in recent years, although it is still unclear if a connection exists in this specific quake.
  3. Record-breaking cold swept over the Northeast this weekend, placing millions under winter storm warnings. More than 38 million people from the Midwest over to the East Coast and up to the Northeast were hit by the arctic blast. Wind chill temperatures in New York and New England reached down as far as 50 below zero, and several cities set record lows.
  4. Dangerous winter weather is expected to continue the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic today, turning from extreme cold to more of a mix of snow and sleet as the day progresses. Airport delays and other transportation issues are likely to continue in New England today, although the weather could have less overall impact than on a typical Monday, as many schools and many workplaces will be closed due to the federal holiday.
  5. New Jersey lawmakers joined Governor Chris Christie in efforts to secure federal disaster aid to help recovery from severe winter storms that hit the state in January. New Jersey is seeking federal funds to help cover the costs of a reported $82.6 million in damages caused by the storm, which dumped more than 30 inches of snow and cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes.
  6. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration in Oklahoma in the aftermath of severe winter weather storms that hit the state in late December and early January. Federal aid will now be available to aid recovery efforts in the 41 counties affected by the storms.
  7. A debate is brewing in Bentonville, AR over the rebuilding of a damaged dam in the region. Officials with the Association of State Dam Safety declared the Lake Bella Vista Dam "failed" in March 2008 after it was topped during a storm. While plans to build a new dam are in the works (with help from FEMA), some local residents are doubling as dam opponents and are arguing that the dam should be removed and that the local waterways should be restored to their "natural-flowing state."
  8. President Obama this weekend urged Russia to stop bombing 'moderate' Syria rebels in the latest effort to end the war in Syria. Late last week, world powers agreed on a cessation of hostilities in Syria, but Russia said the 'cessation' does not apply to its air strikes. The latest escalation of violence is hindering efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to impacted regions.
  9. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than $165,000 in loans for more than three-dozen businesses in the Baltimore region. The loans will help 38 Baltimore-area small businesses and nonprofits recover from damages incurred in riots related to the death of Freddie Gray.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.