EDM Tuesday Briefing: Tornadoes in the Plains, Impact of Social Media on EDM, Tremors Under Mount St. Helens
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 10, 2016: Tornadoes sweep over the Plains as severe weather in the U.S. moves east, a group analyzes the role of social media in EDM, small quakes under Mount St. Helens put renewed focus on PNW volcanoes, and Fort McMurray damage reports start to emerge as firefighters continue to try to stop the wildfire.
- Tornadoes hit portions of the Plains yesterday, leaving at least two people dead in Oklahoma, and destroying multiple homes and barn in the state. There were reports of more than 20 tornadoes in Arkansas through the night. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK warned of ongoing, substantial tornado risk in portions of the Southern Plains and Ozarks late yesterday night into today.
- The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) recently analyzed social media use by local governments and agencies and published its findings as to what makes one agency successful at utilizing social media while others struggle. According to the ICMA, several key engagement styles and patterns were noted to be consistent among the different agencies that use social networking sites effectively.
- Recent seismic activity under Mount St. Helens in Washington State is getting much media attention, but some are wondering, should we care? If nothing else, the recent small-magnitude earthquake swarm that USGS scientists reported under Mount St. Helens is bringing renewed attention to volcano danger in the Pacific Northwest.
- Canadian politician Rachel Notley visited fire-stricken Fort McMurray in Alberta and declared that upwards of 90 percent of buildings in the evacuated Canadian city survived the massive wildfire. Notley said the hospital and most schools were intact but about 10 percent -- 2,400 of 25,000 -- of the structures had been burnt. Since the fire began last week, more than 80,000 people have been evacuated. There have not been any fatalities related to the fire, but two people died in a car crash when they were leaving the city.
- Most of Alberta's oil sands power generation have been shut down due to the wildfires in Fort McMurray. The origin of the wildfire is still unknown and under investigation, but a Canadian professor did recently point out that of the 1,200 wildfires reported in Alberta each year, humans cause approximately half of them. Officials have reportedly been using drones to help find the cause of the wildfire. There have also been reports that firefighters are using drones to combat the raging fire.
- California Governor Jerry Brown and state water regulators put forth a revised drought plan for the state yesterday. After a relatively wet start to 2016 in the state, Brown mentioned that some emergency drought rules might be eased, but Brown also made it clear that, regardless, the days when Californians could use as much water as they pleased are now history.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it will evaluate emergency preparedness at a nuclear generating station in Delaware next week. The biennial emergency preparedness exercise at the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station will occur during the week of May 16, and will test Delaware's ability to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility. FEMA will then send its evaluation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) within 90 days for use in licensing decisions.
- President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in Arkansas due to severe weather that hit the state in early March. Federal aid will now supplement state and local recovery efforts in twelve Arkansas counties most impacted by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding from March 8-13, 2016.
- Weather experts say that the storm system that hit the Plains hard yesterday could produce twisters as far north as Nebraska and Iowa. The severe weather that struck Oklahoma yesterday is expected to move across the U.S. today and into tomorrow, affecting wide ranging areas from the Ohio Valley to the Tennessee valley, to north Texas to Missouri as it moves east.