EDM Tuesday Briefing: Billion-Dollar Weather Events, Second-Warmest Year on Record, Record-Setting Wildfires
Emergency and disaster management Tuesday briefing for January 12, 2016: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the U.S. had 10 billion-dollar weather events in 2015, last year was the second-warmest on record, and 2015 was the worst year for U.S. wildfires in history.
- According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States had 10 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each in 2015. While it is common to observe three or four distinct disaster event types in a given year, there were five distinct disaster event types in 2015: five severe storms, two floods, a wildfire, a winter storm, and a drought.
- The NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information released their annual climate review, which revealed that 2015 was the second-warmest year in the historical record. In 2015, each U.S. state had an average temperature that was warmer than its 20th-century average temperature.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) warned of the ongoing threat of wildfires due to a warming, more drought-prone planet after revealing that U.S. wildfires set a record in 2015. Wildfires burned a record 10,125,149 acres across the United States last year, a number that overtook 2006 as the worst ever. More than 4,500 homes and other structures were destroyed by wildfires and 13 wildland firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty. Four states -- Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington -- were hit especially hard.
- In the latest development in the Flint, MI water crisis, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is preparing to officially request federal aid to deal with the lead-poisoning crisis. Michigan health officials have confirmed 43 cases of Flint residents with elevated lead levels in the blood so far.
- Criticism of both the occurrence and handling of the crisis has intensified in recent days as details emerge about how Flint's drinking water became contaminated. There are reports of health department concerns being ignored before the issue became a full-blown crisis, and some are saying that officials knew the water might be toxic as far back as a year ago.
- San Diego city, county, and utility officials are urging emergency preparedness during El Nino season. Officials are teaming up to provide outreach efforts geared at protecting vulnerable residents. Weather experts are forecasting another 60 days of rain activity in the region that could ultimately lead to flooding and other weather-related disasters.
- The last Red Cross tornado recovery centers in North Texas closed at the end of the weekend, marking a transition from emergency relief to long-term recovery. Red Cross staff and volunteers distributed about 20,000 meals and about 250 people spent at least one night in one of the shelters. A disastrous series of tornadoes hit northern Texas the day after Christmas and resulted in at least 12 deaths and at least 1,100 damaged or destroyed homes.
- Philadelphia police are investigating possible extremist ties in a police shooting. Edward Archer is accused of approaching Officer Jesse Hartnett and firing 11 rounds through the police car window. Police, along with the FBI, are now pursuing a tip that Archer had ties to a group with radical beliefs. Authorities are now seeking three other men in connection with the shooting, and fear that other cops may be in danger.
— NOAA Climate.gov (@NOAAClimate) January 7, 2016