Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Severe Weather Impacts South, Tornadoes Cause Widespread Damage, Bill Gates Backs FBI

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Severe Weather Impacts South, Tornadoes Cause Widespread Damage, Bill Gates Backs FBI

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 24, 2016: Severe weather spawns multiple tornadoes, causing deaths and widespread damage in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, hospitals in Texas may have a rapid Zika diagnosing test, the sea level rise worse than previously thought, and Bill Gates supports FBI in data quest.

  1. A severe weather system turned deadly late Tuesday when a series of at least seven tornadoes ripped through areas in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Schools and government offices closed early in anticipation of the storm system that included high winds, heavy rains, severe thunderstorms, flooding, hail, and tornadoes. The storms and tornadoes downed power lines and trees, and the golf-ball-sized hail also caused damage to area homes. Energy Louisiana indicated that the storm knocked out power to thousands of customers.
  2. Convent, Louisiana was the site of a devastating tornado that completely destroyed 160 mobile homes, killed two, and left several others missing.  Officials are hopeful the missing will eventually be found at area hospitals or elsewhere.  Search dogs combed the mangled debris for survivors who might be trapped in the rubble.
  3. Another tornado touched down in the Louisiana Parish of Assumption, where it toppled a water tower and destroyed at least 20 homes. Other tornadoes ripped through Livingston Parish and Prairieville, Louisiana where it severely damaged a Gold's Gym. A lightning strike also took out the radar system at the National Weather Service when it hit the building in Slidell, Louisiana, causing the facility to switch to its back up system.
  4. As the system moved east, cities in the Florida panhandle also experienced severe weather threats, including a tornado in Escambia County, near Pensacola, collapsing buildings and triggering gas leaks.  Flooding and debris blocked roadways have resulted in area road closures.
  5. Two hospitals in Texas believe they have developed a test that can diagnose the Zika virus in just a few hours.  The test was developed by the Texas Children's Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital in an effort to reduce the time needed to identify the virus, therefore speeding treatment.
  6. Sea levels are rising much faster than previously thought, and it is likely contributed directly to the industrial age and current temperature increases.  This is according to two reports published Monday in journals of the National Academy of Sciences that note the sea levels will increase by a foot a century at current emissions. That means by the year 2100, sea levels could increase anywhere from 11 to 22 inches if the Paris climate agreements are upheld.  If not, the reports suggests sea level increases of 22 to 52 inches.
  7.   As the fight between Apple and the FBI continues in efforts to unblock the San Bernardino shooter's phone, Bill Gates has come forward in full support of the FBI.  His support is in opposition to other tech savvy company heads including Google, Twitter, and Facebook.  He claims that the request is valid since they are asking only for a specific device to be unlocked, but Apple disagrees noting that it would create software that would put millions of user's data at risk.
  8. According to a recent survey, half the nation supports the FBI in their quest, but a recent show of support via social media might speak differently, says one report.  The account notes that it is likely that majority of the people polled do not really understand the implications of creating such software, or the threat is poses, including vulnerabilities to hackers or spies from other nation's.
  9. Additionally, a list of federally-filed cases has recently been opened that indicates numerous other iPhones that the U.S. Justice system is demanding data from - indicating that San Bernardino is not a single request.

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.