EDM Monday Briefing: Snowzilla Devastates East Coast, More Than 12,000 Flights Canceled, Earthquake in Alaska
Emergency and disaster management Monday Briefing for January 25, 2016: Recovery is underway after a massive blizzard -- termed "Snowzilla" -- swept over the East Coast this weekend, airline travel remains disrupted due to the winter storm, and a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shakes Alaska.
- At least 30 people died after a powerful blizzard swept over the East Coast this weekend, bringing heavy snow, strong winds, and flooding. Single-day snowfall records were set in both the Washington D.C. region (up to 35 inches) and in New York City (26.6 inches).
- Across the country, more than 12,000 flights were canceled from Friday through the weekend. Flight cancelations at Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport will spill over into today, at least. Airports in New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore resumed very limited service yesterday.
- The historic blizzard resulted in state of emergency declarations in 10 states and Washington D.C. Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia all declared states of emergency.
- Federal government offices in Washington D.C.will be closed today, as crews continue cleanup efforts from the blizzard. Local government offices and schools will also be closed. A traffic ban in D.C. was still in effect as of last night, and the Washington D.C. transit system remained closed through yesterday.
- A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Alaska early Sunday morning about 160 miles southwest of Anchorage. Initial reports state no injuries related to the quake. The Kenai Peninsula had worst damage, including damaged roads and ruptured gas lines. A magnitude 4.7 aftershock also shook the state about four hours after the initial quake.
- Regulators voted to shut down the Porter Ranch, CA natural gas well that has been leaking massive amounts of gas since at least October 2015. The well will be permanently shut down and sealed the once the leak has stopped. Some are questioning why there won't be a complete and permanent shutdown of all wells at the huge storage field, instead of just the one well currently in the spotlight.
- In the case of Flint, MI and its drinking water crisis, the distinction between "emergency" and "disaster" is proving to be a costly one. In fact, there's about a $90 million difference between the two terms. President Obama signed an emergency declaration last week that will result in about $5 million in aid for the city. But the federal government stopped short of declaring the situation a "national disaster," which could have resulted in at least $96 million in aid.
- At the end of last week, President Obama pledged $80 million in aid to help Michigan improve its water systems. These federal funds are separate from the much-debated emergency funds already given to Flint, and it remains to be seen how much of the $80 million in funds that Michigan will receive will be allocated to Flint.
— NWS (@NWS) January 23, 2016
Here's a map showing this morning's M7.1 and aftershocks (white circles) along with historic seismicity. pic.twitter.com/6uzUT8Gb8n
— AK Earthquake Center (@AKearthquake) January 24, 2016