EDM Tuesday Briefing: Texas Flooding, Severe Weather, Aging Federal IT Systems, EgyptAir 804
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 31, 2016: Torrential rain in Texas leads to at least six deaths, forecasters call for more severe weather in Texas and up through the U.S. into North Dakota, a GAO report calls out federal agencies for maintaining decades-old IT systems, and EgyptAir Flight 804's black boxes continue to elude searchers.
- At least six people died in flooding due to severe rain across Texas, and authorities were searching for an 11-year-old boy in Kansas who was swept away in a flooded creek in Kansas. Emergency workers in Texas rescued at least 40 people in the past few days as rivers and waterways continued to rise after a wave of torrential rain slammed the region in the last week.
- Forecasters say flooding of the Brazos River in parts of Texas will continue at least through today, and the river could crest at a record level soon. More severe storms are possible in Texas and all the way up to the Dakotas. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota could all be hit hard. Additionally, the National Weather Service (NWS) said that more heavy rains could hit Texas later this week -- up to a foot of rain from Wednesday through Friday in central and southeastern regions of the state.
- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently analyzed IT spending at government agencies and discovered that agencies are increasingly spending IT funds to maintain legacy systems and are spending less on modernization of those IT systems. And many of the systems they are spending to maintain are old. Some federal agencies are reportedly still using IT systems that utilize 8-inch floppy disks, and code from the 1950s, for example.
- Searchers from multiple countries continue to try to locate the black boxes from EgyptAir Flight 804, which are believed to be sitting deep in the Mediterranean Sea. The battery-powered boxes will typically emit 'pings' to help investigators locate it for 30 days, so the midway point in the assumed battery life is quickly approaching. Because no terrorist group has claimed credit for the crash, investigators are scrambling to come up with other theories as to what may have happened to bring the plane down.
- With the start of hurricane season rapidly approaching tomorrow, June 1, the National Hurricane Center released detailed information about hurricane and storm expectations for the upcoming season. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also offers a wealth of information on hurricanes -- how to prepare families for hurricanes, suggestions on creating emergency plans, and more.
- A tornado touched down yesterday afternoon near Peetz, CO, a town located in northeast Colorado just south of the Nebraska border. The Logan County Sheriff's Office said the tornado destroyed a barn, caused other minor damages to residences, and knocked down power poles in the area. But no injuries were reported.
- South Korean authorities reported that North Korea attempted another missile launch and that the launch likely failed. The alleged missile test is the latest in a months-long wave of military exercises conducted by North Korea in an attempt to showcase its nuclear and missile technology progress. The failed test was reportedly a launch of an intermediate-range Musudan missile; the country attempted three Musudan test launches in April, all of which failed, according to South Korean and U.S. sources.
- Severe floods in southwestern Germany resulted in at least four deaths. According to one official, more rain fell in just a few hours than typically falls over months on Sunday. Authorities reported that rising flood waters were trapping people in both houses and businesses and many roads remained closed as rescue efforts continued.
- Scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife News (CDFW) recently discovered that there has been an upward movement of trees in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Red fir, western white pine, and mountain hemlock all showed obvious signed of upward elevation movement toward cooler temperatures in recent years. According to the CDFW, this study "foreshadows how climate warming may significantly alter entire habitats for multiple species" in regions hit with significant temperature changes in coming years.
- The World Health Assembly approved reforms that will increase the U.N. health agency's ability to respond rapidly and more effectively to health emergencies. According to officials, the new measures will help countries battle urgent public health emergencies like Ebola, Zika, and yellow fever. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports 130 million people worldwide are in need of health assistance today.
— 9NEWS Denver (@9NEWS) May 31, 2016