Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Tropical Storm Arthur Becomes First Named Storm of 2020 Hurricane Season
EDM Monday Briefing: Tropical Storm Arthur Becomes First Named Storm of 2020 Hurricane Season

EDM Monday Briefing: Tropical Storm Arthur Becomes First Named Storm of 2020 Hurricane Season

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 18, 2020: Tropical Storm Arthur becomes the first named storm of the 2020 hurricane season; HHS secretary says no spike in coronavirus cases as states have begun reopening; hundreds of residents were evacuated as a wildfire near Phoenix quickly raged out of control Monday; telemedicine visits are likely to be a permanent part of healthcare going forward; an explosion in a building on fire in Los Angeles injured at least 11 firefighters; 2020 is likely to be a more active hurricane season than average; a troubling new criminal reality is emerging with required mask use; and Cyclone Amphan rapidly intensifies to Category 5 hurricane strength in the Bay of Bengal as it aims for impoverished areas of India and Bangladesh.

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1) The first named storm of the 2020 hurricane season formed Saturday off the coast of Florida. Coastal North Carolina is bracing for a brush from Tropical Storm Arthur, which is expected to douse the Outer Banks with one to three inches of heavy rainfall and rough surf. On Monday morning, TS Arthur was just 50 miles south-southwest of the Cape Hatteras with sustained winds of 45 mph

2) As states reopen, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar states that there has not yet been a spike in coronavirus cases. Secretary Azar says it is still early and that it will take time and monitoring of flu-like symptoms and other hospital admissions data to identify any new cases. The Secretary also noted that reopening strategies were in the hands of local governments, which would allow for specific community needs to be addressed.

3) A brush fire that quickly raged out of control on Monday near Phoenix, Arizona, forced the evacuation of at least 150 homes. The wildfire ignited in the desert hills near the community of Cave Creek north of Phoenix, and it has consumed at least 1,500 acres. Hot and windy weather remains a challenge for nearly 400 firefighters assigned to fight the wildfire, which includes six hotshot crews and 10 engines, with a request for aircraft to be on standby for Monday.

4) In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, doctors across the nation implemented telemedicine visits for patients. This new virtual visit with doctors is likely a permanent part of healthcare — one that is now covered by most insurance companies — and has already become a common practice among physicians. According to reports, many patients, even those who are older and less technologically adept, really enjoy telemedicine/telehealth visits, because they are convenient and can be conducted from their homes.

5) Firefighters were responding to a one-story building fire in Los Angeles on Sunday evening when an explosion occurred. The explosion set multiple nearby buildings on fire and injured 11 firefighters, some of whom who fought through a wall of fire to escape the roof via an aerial ladder. All of those injured were hospitalized with serious and varying degrees of burns to their bodies, including two who had to be placed on ventilators due to internal burns after they inhaled superheated gases.

6) Overall conditions are likely to make the 2020 hurricane season more active than an average season. Warmer than average waters in the Atlantic Ocean, along with La Niña conditions in the Pacific, set the stage for a more active hurricane season. La Niña reduces wind shear, while warmer waters provide the fuel for tropical storms and hurricanes. The temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the critical number for storm development to occur.

7) A troubling new reality and an unintended consequence may be emerging as a result of required mask use during the coronavirus pandemic. Law enforcement officials say that the protective masks provide a way for criminals to hide their faces, helping them blend in while they commit crimes. According to reports, wearing masks allows criminals to blend in with others and makes security videos much less useful because half the face is hidden.

8) Cyclone Amphan recently formed in the Bay of Bengal and rapidly strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. The cyclone's path is set for the Ganges River Delta in India and Bangladesh. Although it is projected to weaken before making landfall, the storm will still be strong enough to cause significant damage to communities situated in the area. The cyclone is projected to make landfall among impoverished communities that are densely populated and have weak, unreliable infrastructure systems. These communities' resources are already stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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.