Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Mardi Gras, Tornadoes, Superbugs

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Mardi Gras, Tornadoes, Superbugs

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 1, 2017: SUV plows into marching band during Mardi Gras parade in Alabama, severe weather across Midwest spawns more than 20 tornadoes and kills at least 2 people, the World Health Organization releases superbug list, Dakota Access Pipeline protestors forced to leave camps after trespassing threat, officials stop water on spillway at Oroville Dam to assess damage and begin debris clearing, abruptly stopping water flows has placed fish at risk below the Oroville Dam, two Houston police officers are injured during shootout with burglary suspects, Sierra Nevada snowpack levels offer hope that California's drought may now be over.

  1. Another tragedy strikes during Mardi Gras celebrations, this time in Alabama, as an SUV slams into marching band members walking ahead of it during a parade. The Ford Expedition, driven by a 73-year-old man, accelerated before plowing into the marching band, but authorities believe the incident is not related to drugs or alcohol. A total of twelve students, aged 12-17 were injured, with three students listed in critical but stable condition.
  2. At least two people have died after after severe weather moved through northern Arkansas and the upper Midwest, including Illinois, where a tornado touched down in the north-central town of Ottawa. The strong weather system wreaked havoc from Texas, where high winds intensified wildfires, and into Illinois, delivering baseball size hail and spawning at least 20 tornadoes.  In Missouri, a suspected tornado touched down in Perry County, killing one. In Ottawa, Ill., an uprooted tree killed one, while minor injuries were reported at a nursing home, but the total number of those hurt from the twister is not yet known.
  3. The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a list of twelve superbugs increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The WHO has released the list in a effort to garner collaboration between private drug companies and public research facilities to increase the pace of development of new anti-biotic drugs - a process that usually requires at least a decade. The list ranks the superbugs by priority - critical, high priority, and medium - to prompt research for the most dangerous multi-drug resistant bacteria first.
  4. The oldest camp where protestors gathered to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline was emptied on Tuesday after a trespassing threat was issued. Following a request from tribal Chairman David Archambault, Bureau of Indian Affairs agents ordered all remaining protestors to leave, stating they were trespassing on Native American land, even though the tribe had welcomed and supported their presence for months.
  5. Usage of the main spillway at the Oroville Dam in California was halted shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Monday, after levels in the lake behind the nation's tallest dam fell just below 840 feet. Officials were finally able to assess damages in and around the spillway, with the goal of removing what is estimated to be 500,000 to 1 million cubic yards of debris settled below the damaged spillway. Removal of the debris is necessary in order to restart the Hyatt Powerplant which was shut down to avoid being damaged from high water levels and the large amounts of debris.
  6. Abruptly stopping the flow of water from the Oroville Dam spillway has impacted water flows in rivers and streams below the dam. State biologists, concerned that the sudden reduction in water would affect fish populations vital to the region, began fish rescue campaigns on Tuesday morning fearing the worst. As biologists sought low lying areas containing water and hopefully live fish, they were grateful their search was rewarded. Rescue efforts are set to continue through Saturday.
  7. One police officer was critically injured and one seriously injured during a shootout in Houston, Texas with suspected burglars on Tuesday. One of the suspects was killed by police during the shoot out and the search continues for other suspect involved in the shooting that occurred when police responded to a call regarding a burglary in the area. Police have described the suspect as a Hispanic male wearing a blue bandana and dark clothing and consider him armed and dangerous.
  8. The California Department of Water Resources is cautiously optimistic that the massive snowpack in the Sierra Nevada might finally crush the state's years long drought. Current snowpack levels are 186 percent above normal, with current rain and snowfall amounts above any levels seen in the region for decades. The winter snowpack provides nearly one-third of the water supply to residents within California and is a vital source for the state's water supply.

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.