Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Blizzard Warnings in Effect for at Least Six States
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Blizzard Warnings in Effect for at Least Six States

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Blizzard Warnings in Effect for at Least Six States

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 10, 2019: Officials in Japan have partially lifted evacuation orders for one town following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster; JBS Plainwell has issued a recall of over 43,000 pounds of ground beef; a fire at a major mall in Bangkok, Thailand has killed at least one person and injured several others; the death toll stands at 847 from Cyclone Idai as health officials try to combat cholera in cyclone-devastated Mozambique; New York City has declared a public health emergency due to a measles outbreak; first responders had to extricate the body of a person killed in a crash in Maryland that involved a school bus; the NWS has issued blizzard warnings for at least six states ahead of what could be an historic storm; and six months after Hurricane Michael devastated Florida's panhandle, temporary housing vouchers issued by FEMA have expired.

1) Officials in Japan have partially lifted evacuation orders in one community for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The announcement on Wednesday permits about 40 percent of the population of Okuma to return home, although Futaba and several other towns near the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Plant are still under evacuation orders. Some residents are reluctant to return home due to the complicated decommissioning process of the plant that continues to present challenges, including the storage of nearly one million gallons of radioactively contaminated water.

2) A recall of nearly 43,300 pounds of ground beef has been issued due to possible foreign matter contamination. JBS Plainwell, Inc., issued the recall after receiving consumer complaints of green hard plastic being found in the beef. Various packaging types are part of the recall, most of which include products sold at Meijer grocery store chains in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

3) At least one person is dead and two others injured after a fire broke out on Wednesday at Bangkok's Central World Complex -- a major mall complex that includes shops, restaurants, and an office building. The fire began Wednesday evening as diners were headed to eat at the many restaurants and shoppers were milling about the stores. Hundreds were evacuated to an open square next to the complex, and officials have not yet determined the cause of the blaze.

4) The death toll from Cyclone Idai -- which devastated the African nations of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi -- stands at 847, with hundreds of thousands of people still in desperate need of food, clean water, and shelter. The cyclone, which came on the heels of torrential rainfall, caused the overflowing of two major rivers, submerged villages and left bodies floating in the water. Mozambique suffered the most devastation, with at least 239,682 homes damaged or destroyed. Health officials are trying to combat an outbreak of cholera through a vaccination campaign.

5) New York City has declared a public health emergency after an outbreak of the measles in Brooklyn, which is primarily among Orthodox Jewish children, according to officials. The emergency declaration means that unvaccinated individuals must now be vaccinated or face fines. Officials stated that anonymously distributed vaccine misinformation in the community has played a part in parents' vaccination decisions for their children. The state is one of 19 in the nation that has grappled with measles this year, with a total of at least 465 cases of measles now documented across the country for 2019.

6) First responders arrived on the scene of a deadly school bus crash in Clinton, Maryland early Wednesday -- a crash that also involved a tractor-trailer and at least one other vehicle. Officials have stated that at least one person has died and another six individuals were transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Two teenagers were onboard the bus when it was involved in the crash, and authorities report that one female -- who was not on the bus -- was killed. An investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

7) Blizzard warnings are in effect for at least six states as a new winter storm threatens to dump potentially historic amounts of snow across the central U.S. Forecasts are calling for blizzard conditions that include heavy snow and high winds, with snowfall amounts up to 24 inches possible in some locations. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the storm system is set to move into the Rockies and then the Northern Plains by Wednesday night. The Central/Northern Plains and western Minnesota may see anywhere from one to two feet of snow by Thursday night.

8) Six months after Hurricane Michael devastated portions of the Florida panhandle, temporary housing vouchers have expired for residents who were still displaced and living in hotels. The vouchers, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Transitional Housing Assistance program, expired on Tuesday and sparked concern that residents will now leave Bay County due to the lack of availability of affordable housing. Florida has filed an appeal with FEMA, requesting a three-month extension to the vouchers, the cancellation of which has impacted about 250 people.

 

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.