Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Pending Ecological Disaster in Gulf of Paria
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Pending Ecological Disaster in Gulf of Paria

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Pending Ecological Disaster in Gulf of Paria


Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 21, 2020: Red Flag Warnings are likely to prompt PSPS in Northern California; concerns over a listing oil tanker in the Gulf of Paria have prompted calls for action to avoid an ecological disaster; Hannaford Supermarkets has issued a recall for all Portland Pie products due to potential product tampering; Hurricane Epsilon is likely to strengthen as it moves to the east of Bermuda today; an illegal immigrant shot and killed one Houston police officer and injured another; firefighters assigned to the Cameron Peak Fire face critical fire behavior amid a Red Flag Warning today; nearly four dozen wind turbines in Iowa were idled after a second blade broke along its length; and residents across the Twin Cities dig out from the second-largest October snowstorm ever to hit the area.

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1) A second Red Flag Warning has been issued for a large swath of Northern California near the Bay Area as dangerous weather conditions increase the risk of wildfires. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) says the critical fire weather is likely to prompt additional Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) over the next several days while the warning is in place. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts the worst winds to be overnight on Wednesday and Thursday, with the warning to remain in place until Friday at 8 a.m.

2) A oil tanker carrying millions of gallons of crude oil that has been sitting in the Gulf of Paria — located between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago — may be in trouble. The ship, the Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima, is now listing to one side and suspended by anchor chains. Concerns over a potential oil spill and ecological disaster have prompted calls for action. The ship has been sitting in the same location since January, when companies operating in the U.S. were prohibited from trading with Venezuela's state-owned oil company due to U.S. sanctions on the nation.

3) A recall has been issued by Hannaford Supermarkets, which operate in New England, for all Portland Pie products due to potential product tampering. Hannaford initially recalled only the pizza dough products after razor blades or other metal items were reported by consumers to be in the product. Out of an abundance of caution, the retailer recalled all the Portland Pie products, including the pizza dough and cheese sold at the deli counter from August 1 to October 11, and pulled all the products from its store shelves.

4) Hurricane Epsilon will move to the east of Bermuda today, where tropical storm conditions may be possible. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts that while the hurricane will not make landfall, dangerous rip currents and surf will likely be present along the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada over the next several days. Advisories from the NHC indicate that the storm has sustained winds of about 85 mph, is moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph and is forecast to slightly increase in strength again today.

5) One Houston police officer is dead and another is injured after an illegal immigrant from El Salvador opened fire when officers responded to a domestic disturbance at the apartment location. The suspect, Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez, 51, allegedly fired shots from the apartment that killed Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year veteran of the force, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head, and injured Officer Courtney Waller, who was shot in the arm and assisted to safety by a bystander. The suspect, who then barricaded himself in the apartment and was later wounded in the abdomen, has been arrested.

6) Firefighters assigned to the Cameron Peak Fire will be faced with critical fire weather conditions amid a Red Flag Warning issued for Wednesday through Thursday morning. The Red Flag Warning will go into effect at noon. However, conditions will begin to deteriorate during the morning hours, with winds of 15-30 mph, gusts up to 50 mph, and humidity levels as low as 15%. The National Weather Service (NWS) indicates that there will be a high risk of fire starts, and fire behavior will increase for the Cameron Peak Fire, which has scorched over 205,000 acres and is about 51% contained.

7) Nearly four dozen wind turbines have been idled in Iowa, after a blade broke and fell to the ground at the Beaver Creek wind farm, a facility owned by MidAmerican Energy. The company decided to idle similar turbines on all its wind farms after a second blade broke off along its length — the second such break to occur over the past two months on similar turbines at different wind farms. The other blade break occurred at the Arbor Hills wind farm, located in Adair County, and the company is checking the blades of all 46 idled turbines for safety.

8) Residents across the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Minnesota area are digging out from the second-largest snowstorm ever to occur in October. The MSP airport snow tally was at 7.6 inches by 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, while areas to its south recorded eight to nine inches of snow. The heavy snowfall primarily impacted locations to the south of MSP, with Sedan, a town near Glenwood, receiving a whopping 10.8 inches of snow.


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.