Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Hurricane Zeta to Make Landfall Along the Northern Gulf Coast
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Hurricane Zeta to Make Landfall Along the Northern Gulf Coast

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Hurricane Zeta to Make Landfall Along the Northern Gulf Coast


Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 28, 2020: The Northern Gulf Coast is bracing for Hurricane Zeta, forecast to make landfall Wednesday afternoon; resident across Sonoma County were able to breathe easier on Wednesday after the high-wind weather threat dissipated; a high-speed rail project is meant to offer an eco-friendly alternative from Southern California to Las Vegas; Orca Bay Foods issued a recall for over 4,400 pounds of Trader Joe's branded battered fish due to undeclared allergens; winter weather that rolled into Texas prompted widespread power outages in Lubbock; a school bus crash in Meigs County, Tennessee, killed one child and the school bus driver; Grand Lake Fire Department asks for donations for seven first responders who lost their homes to the East Troublesome Fire; and fire officials say snowfall amounts will help slow wildfire spread in Colorado, but is unlikely to end the region's wildfire season.

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1) Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall sometime Wednesday afternoon along the northern Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast calls for the storm to continue gaining strength, likely becoming a Category 2 storm by landfall. Zeta is moving north-northwestward at 17 mph, with a change in direction to the north-northeast today due to an upper level-low moving into west Texas, prompting a further increase in forward speed. According to the NWS, the acceleration in speed will push high winds well inland by this evening, and residents should monitor local NWS forecasts for potential wind speeds, rainfall amounts, and flood risks along the storm's projected track.

2) Residents across Sonoma County are breathing easier on Wednesday after high winds finally eased during the day on Tuesday. Back-to-back windstorms prompted Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) beginning Sunday and sparked multiple small fires that patrolling firefighters were able to quickly extinguish. The high winds toppled trees and power lines, and sustained wind speeds were recorded at 76 mph on Mount St. Helena, with gusts up to 89 mph.

3) Anyone traveling to Las Vegas from Southern California will have a new, faster alternative to the heavily traveled Interstate 15 — high-speed rail. The project, undertaken by Brightline West — who is expected to break ground before the end of the year — is slated to be completed by 2024 and will connect Victorville, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. The infrastructure project is expected to be a high-speed, eco-friendly option that removes vehicles from clogged roadways, with 260 miles of track and an estimated cost of approximately $8 billion. Future expansions are planned from Victorville to Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County, with an eventual expansion to Union Station in Los Angeles.

4) A recall has been issued for battered fish sold at Trader Joe's due to undeclared milk and wheat ingredients. Orca Bay Foods recalled more than 350 cases — over 4,400 pounds — of its Trader Joe's Brand Gluten Free Battered Halibut because they contain milk and wheat. The products were distributed to stores in 19 states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin. According to the Food and Drug Administration "people with sensitivities or allergies to milk and wheat run the risk of a serious or life-threatening reaction if they consume this product."

5) Winter weather rolled into Texas on Monday and Tuesday, bringing lightning and freezing rain that prompted power outages. Ice built up on trees, causing them to come in contact with power lines, which knocked out power to at least 4,200 people across the Lubbock area. That number was expected to rise as the storm moved throughout the region. A statement by Lubbock Power and Light (LP&L) noted that crews would be out all evening checking lines and making repairs to restore power as quickly as possible.

6) At least two people were killed and others were injured during a school bus crash in Tennessee on Tuesday. A school bus carrying 22 children was involved in a collision with a utility vehicle along Highway 58 in Meigs County, killing a 7-year-old girl and the school bus driver. Seven other children were injured, including one who remains in critical condition. Five of the accident victims were flown by helicopter to Erlanger's Children's Hospital in Chattanooga, and two were transported by ambulance. According to law enforcement officials, an electric service utility vehicle lost control and swerved into oncoming traffic, colliding head-on with the school bus.

7) Seven first responders from the Grand Lake Fire Department (GLFD) in Colorado had their homes completely destroyed by the wind-driven East Troublesome Fire. The wildfire whipped through Grand Lake County, destroying at least 300 to 400 hundred homes, and the blaze has consumed over 192,500 acres since it began on October 14. The GLFD is now asking for donations from the community to a GoFundMe account to assist the five firefighters and two dispatchers, who lost everything while selflessly serving and battling the intense flames to protect the community.

8) The winter snowstorm that hit Colorado this past weekend helped firefighters gain containment of the state's two largest wildfires, the Cameron Peak Fire and the East Troublesome Fire. However, fire officials are concerned it only helped slow the fires' spread, not stop them. While the 6-12 inches of snowfall has provided increased moisture levels, fuels were extremely dry. According to fire officials, the weather also helped tame the two fires enough to conduct damage assessments. The Cameron Peak Fire has destroyed at least 426 structures, including 208 homes, but snow and ice has made access difficult.


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.