Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Hawaii Narrowly Spared Direct Hit by Hurricane Douglas
EDM Monday Briefing: Hawaii Narrowly Spared Direct Hit by Hurricane Douglas

EDM Monday Briefing: Hawaii Narrowly Spared Direct Hit by Hurricane Douglas

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 27, 2020: Hurricane Hanna has moved into Mexico as a post-tropical depression after making landfall in south Texas; three large fires are now part of the July Complex burning in the Modoc National Forest; the Caldwell Fire has prompted the evacuation and shutdown of the Lava Beds National Monument and Medicine Lake Recreational Area; heavy rainfall impacted Hawaii even though it avoided a direct hit from Hurricane Douglas; the NHC is monitoring an area of low pressure that is likely to form into the season's seventh named storm; a wildfire broke out in Palm Springs, California, on Saturday and quickly consumed over 200 acres; concerns are mounting over potentially dangerous dam structures in China amid unprecedented rainfall amounts; and a fire in Portugal has claimed the life of one firefighter and injured several others.

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1) Hurricane Hanna made landfall in south Texas on Saturday afternoon as a Category 1 storm, drenching the area of Port Mansfield with heavy rainfall and winds of about 90 mph. The storm knocked out power and caused streets to flood, and it also damaged docks and boats in several marinas. The storm surge sparked a fire at the Indianola Fishing Marina in Matagorda County, which was put out by firefighters using high water trucks to access the building that was on fire.

2) The July Complex Fire now consists of three large wildfires, two of which firefighters are struggling to control — the Caldwell and Dalton fires. The difficult terrain of the Caldwell Fire has prevented firefighters from gaining control, so it remains at zero percent containment, while the Dalton Fire has consumed 1,367 acres. The Allen Fire is at 60 percent containment, and passing thunderstorms created downdraft winds that have caused erratic and unpredictable fire behavior for all three of these wildfires.

3) One of the wildfires burning in the July Complex has now forced the closure of the Lava Beds National Monument. The wind-driven Caldwell Fire has now scorched 11,860 acres, and it has burned into the southern border of the park and is moving toward the Medicine Lake campground. The Medicine Lake Recreation Area is under a mandatory evacuation, and some roadways in the area remain closed to allow for the safety of firefighters working to contain the blaze.

4) Hawaii avoided a direct hit from Hurricane Douglas, which was quickly moving away from the island of Kauai very early Monday morning. The hurricane remains a Category 1 storm, with sustained winds of 90 mph and higher gusts, but heavy rainfall remains the only threat. The storm is forecast to weaken as it continues to move to the west-northwest and away from the Hawaiian Islands.

5) The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is eyeing another system of low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean which has an 80 percent chance of development over the next 48 hours. The system, should it develop into a tropical storm, would be named Isaias and would be the ninth named storm of the 2020 season. If the storm develops and is named prior to August 7th, it will break the record for the earliest name 'I' storm — held since 2005 — by Irene.

6) A wildfire that broke out on Saturday near the Palm Springs Visitor Center and Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, California, quickly scorched 212 acres. The blaze, which was burning next to Highway 111, forced about one mile of the roadway to be shut down early Sunday morning. Ground crews were being assisted by water and retardant-dropping airplanes and helicopters, due to difficult terrain and little water access.

7) Concerns are rising over possible dam failures in China, as the Three Gorges Dam is tested by heavy rainfall that is pushing the reservoir to capacity levels and beyond. A recent dam collapse in the Guangxi region, famous for its karst landscape, is drawing attention to the more than 94,000 aging dams across the nation. The alleged patchy maintenance and inferior designs of this critical infrastructure system may pose huge risks for the now densely populated regions located below many of the dams in question, especially as heavy rainfall amounts continue to increase.

8) Citizens of the Oleiros region in central Portugal are on high alert after a wildfire, which began on Saturday afternoon, spread rapidly. The wildfire has already caused the death of one firefighter and injured seven others, including a civilian. More than 850 firefighters are working to control the blaze. Strong winds and high temperatures are being blamed for the wildfire, which has already prompted the evacuation of some of the regions' citizens.

 

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.