Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Hurricane Michael Aims for Florida's Panhandle
EDM Monday Briefing: Hurricane Michael Aims for Florida's Panhandle

EDM Monday Briefing: Hurricane Michael Aims for Florida's Panhandle

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By Kim Arsenault
Contributor, EDM Digest

Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 8, 2018: Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen as it pushes towards Florida; a limousine crash in upstate New York killed 20 people in the state’s most deadly transportation accident since 2009; at least 12 people are dead following an earthquake and significant aftershocks in Haiti; San Francisco is set to roll out an earthquake early warning system — ShakeAlert — on its BART system Monday; a large crowd attending a Lil Wayne concert in Atlanta suddenly bolted after false gunshots were reported; Virginia reports a record number of West Nile Virus cases for 2018; a JetBlue flight was cancelled after smoke poured from one engine during takeoff; and a toddler and an honor student are the latest shooting fatalities in Chicago.

1. Hurricane Michael, officially a Category 1 storm, continues to strengthen as it moves towards Florida’s panhandle, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency for 26 counties ahead of the storm. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued hurricane and tropical storm watches along portions of the panhandle and the west coast of Florida, and Michael is predicted to make landfall as early as Wednesday, likely as a Category 2 storm. Tropical storm force winds are predicted to begin along the coast of Southwest Florida as early as Tuesday morning. Citizens across the watch areas are being urged to quickly complete preparations.

2. A limousine crash in upstate New York on Saturday afternoon killed 20 people — all 18 people in the limo, along with two bystanders. The vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at an intersection. The limo, a converted 2001 Ford Excursion, was thought to be traveling above the posted 50 mph speed limit when it careened down a hill, through an intersection, and into a parking lot. It struck an empty parked car and two pedestrians, then slammed into trees and an embankment. The limo was on its way to a birthday party, and four of the passengers who were onboard and killed were reported to be sisters.

3. A magnitude 5.9 earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday has killed at least 12 people, including one person who died when an auditorium collapsed, and injured about 188 others. The quake was felt lightly in many locations in the nation, including in Port-au-Prince, its capital, and in the neighboring Dominican Republic. It has damaged or destroyed homes and buildings in the impoverished nation. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stated that the earthquake was centered 12 miles northwest of Port-de-Paix at a depth of 7.3 miles and struck at 8:11 p.m. The USGS noted that another strong aftershock, registering a 5.2 magnitude, struck in nearly the same location on Sunday.

4. Officials in San Francisco are set to implement new technology on Monday that is meant to save lives during an earthquake. ShakeAlert, an early warning system for earthquakes that has been under development by the U.S. Geological Survey for the last six years, will be rolled out on the largest rail system in the city in order to help protect citizens seconds before an earthquake strikes. If ShakeAlert works properly, the BART system will automatically bring trains to a complete standstill before the shaking begins — and potentially save thousands of lives. Monday’s demonstration will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.

5. A large crowd attending a Lil Wayne performance in Atlanta Sunday night suddenly bolted from the Georgia Freight Depot in panic. Wayne was performing at the A3C Festival downtown and had just taken the stage when the crowd suddenly bolted after a fight reportedly broke out and gunshots were falsely reported. At least six people received minor injuries during the incident. Law enforcement confirmed that no weapons were involved in the fight.

6. Virginia is reporting a record number of West Nile cases across the state for 2018. On Friday, state health officials announced that as of October 1, the number of reported cases across the state had reached 38. The West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. Although many people do not exhibit symptoms when infected, approximately one in five develop a fever and other symptoms of the virus.

7. Passengers onboard a JetBlue airplane that was taking off from Las Vegas on Sunday received a scare when smoke began pouring from one of the aircraft’s engines. The JetBlue flight, departing from Las Vegas and bound for Boston’s Logan Airport, was on the runway taking off when passengers reportedly heard a loud bang and felt the pilot apply the brakes very hard. The pilot was able to abort the takeoff and taxi safely to the terminal where the 146 passengers, none of whom were injured, deplaned safely.

8. A toddler and an honor student were fatally shot in Chicago over the weekend in separate shooting incidents. The two-year-old toddler was shot in an alleyway around 10:15 p.m. when gunfire erupted after a fight between two women had spilled out of a house and into the alleyway where a crowd was gathered. The honor student was fatally shot in the back while attending a vigil with about 100 others when an argument broke out and two people started shooting. In all, a total of 10 other people were wounded in shootings across the city over the weekend, including one 65-year-old woman who was critically injured when she was shot while driving.

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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.