Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Severe Weather Spawns Tornadoes and Causes Widespread Damage in South
EDM Monday Briefing: Severe Weather Spawns Tornadoes and Causes Widespread Damage in South

EDM Monday Briefing: Severe Weather Spawns Tornadoes and Causes Widespread Damage in South


Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 15, 2019: Severe storms over the weekend killed at least eight people and injured dozens, some critically; severe weather across the southern United States spawned several tornadoes including one in Franklin, Texas; at least 1,200 people have died in a measles outbreak in Madagascar; a bulletproof vest is being credited with saving the life of a deputy in Mississippi; the CDC believes ground beef is the culprit in an E. coli outbreak that stretches across six states; three people are dead after a private jet crashed in Mississippi; a recall for possible salmonella contamination has been issued for cut melon distributed across 16 states; and TEPCO has begun the removal of fuel from Unit 3 at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

1) Severe storms swept across the southern United States over the weekend, causing the deaths of at least eight people and injuring dozens of other individuals. The severe weather spawned strong thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and high winds, which led to flooding and tornadoes in several states including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The storm also cut power to about 90,000 people in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, downed trees, and caused widespread damage across the entire region.

2) Spawned by the severe weather system, a tornado touched down in Franklin, Texas, destroying at least 55 homes, four businesses, a church and other buildings. Preliminary information collected by officials from the National Weather Service (NWS) categorizes the tornado as an EF-3, with winds of 140 mph. At least one other tornado reportedly touched down in Monroe County, Mississippi, about 140 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, which injured at least 19 people, two critically. The victims were taken to area hospitals.

3) An outbreak of measles in poverty-stricken Madagascar has killed over 1,200 people, most of which were children under the age of 15. A mid-March total placed the number of measles cases at 117,075 -- and the number of cases continues to rise -- since many victims do not have the resources to get vaccinated. World Health Organization (WHO) officials state that only about 58 percent of the population is vaccinated against the disease, and a vaccination rate of 90-95 percent is needed to effectively prevent an outbreak of the disease.

4) A bulletproof vest saved the life of a sheriff's deputy in Mississippi on Friday after a suspect shot him in the arm, leg, and shoulder, then multiple times at close range in the chest. The vest stopped at least two of the bullets. Deputy Daniel Tatum pulled over the suspect, Randy Vaught, 33, after Tatum saw him leaving a drug house. When the suspect could not produce a driver's license, he sped away and Deputy Tatum followed him to a house, where Tatum was shot multiple times. Vaught then barricaded himself in his mother's home. After a four-hour standoff, Vaught reportedly surrendered, knelt on the ground and shot himself in the head.

5) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that ground beef is the likely cause of a multi-state outbreak of E. coli. At least 109 cases of food poisoning have been reported across six states, including Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia, with the majority of the cases reported in Kentucky. The outbreak began in early March, but health officials say that individuals can continue to eat ground beef as long as it is cooked thoroughly to 160 degrees Fahrenheit prior to consumption.

6) A private jet crashed in Mississippi on Saturday, killing three people, including one married couple and the co-pilot. The Rockwell Sabreliner 65 departed from University-Oxford Airport in Mississippi and was headed to Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport in Alabama when it crashed at around 10:00 p.m. Saturday night. The plane went down between New Albany and Blue Springs in northern Mississippi, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), along with the National Transportation Safety Board, is investigating the incident.

7) A recall has been issued for cut melon linked to an outbreak of salmonella across nine states that has sickened 93 people, 23 of whom were hospitalized. The recall for the cut melon has been issued by Caito Foods LLC, who distributed the product across 16 states under the brands of Kroger, Trader Joe's, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods. The 16 states involved in the recall include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

8) In a significant milestone, plant operators have begun to remove fuel from a cooling pool at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The removal of 566 fuel units that are not enclosed and stored in the pool at the Unit 3 reactor is expected to take two years, but their removal is a crucial step in avoiding another disaster should the plant again be impacted by a major earthquake. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) noted that the real challenge will be removing the melted fuel inside each of the three reactors, and full decommissioning of the plant is expected to take at least 40 years.


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.