EDM Wednesday Briefing: Two Dam Failures Prompt Evacuation of Central Michigan Residents
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 20, 2020: Heavy rainfall caused two catastrophic dam failures in central Michigan; Cyclone Amphan slams into the coast of eastern India and Bangladesh with 120 mph winds and large swells; infrastructure repairs are still needed after an Easter tornado ripped through Collegedale in Tennessee; flooding that occurred in multiple warehouses and businesses in an Ohio Township led to the rescue of at least 55 workers; more than half the wildfires in Utah in 2019 were human-caused; the President announced a food assistance program that directly provides funding to ranchers and farmers impacted by the coronavirus; emergency officials are concerned about disaster fatigue affecting residents in hurricane-prone areas ahead of the 2020 hurricane season; and the Port of Wilmington welcomed its largest-ever post-Panamax ship on Wednesday.
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1) Heavy rainfall in central Michigan overfilled rivers and caused two catastrophic dam failures. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), catastrophic failures occurred at two dams, the Edenville Dam on Tuesday and the Sanford Dam on Wednesday, forcing the evacuations of thousands of residents living in homes below the dams. A state of emergency has been declared for multiple counties, prompting the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center.
MAJOR FLOODING: 2 dams in central Michigan failed Tuesday after several days of heavy rain. The National Weather Service in Detroit said the dams suffered “catastrophic failures,” which led to “extremely dangerous flash flooding.” #8NN
— 8 News NOW (@8NewsNow) May 20, 2020
2) Cyclone Amphan slammed into the eastern coast of India and Bangladesh Wednesday afternoon with 120 mph winds, causing high waves and flooding threats. The storm caused at least two deaths and was expected to continue inland toward Kolkata, India's largest city. As the cyclone approached India and Bangladesh, evacuation efforts were hindered by the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic, such as requirements that included opening more shelters to house the evacuees.
Cyclone Amphan made landfall in India and Bangladesh, affecting a region home to poor fishing villages and 1M refugees.
The UN warns of a "new humanitarian crisis":
▪️ At least 5 deaths reported, including 2 children
▪️ About 3M people evacuated
▪️ Houses flattened or destroyed pic.twitter.com/QRr3963YjK
— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 20, 2020
3) The city of Collegedale near Chattanooga, Tennessee, was struck by an EF-3 tornado on Easter night and is still dealing with debris clean-up and repairs. Repairs on damaged infrastructure, including a sewer pump station, The Commons, and the library, still need to be completed; however, the city is waiting on bids for the repairs. The city has contracted additional services to grind brush debris that continues to accumulate due to damages incurred during the tornado.
Chattanoogan ▶ Collegedale Still Dealing With Storm Cleanup, Repairs https://t.co/3bJH8fkNA9
— Chattanooga News (@chattanooganoos) May 20, 2020
4) In Ohio, saturated grounds amid heavy rainfall that continued on Tuesday caused flooding in an industrial area in West Chester Township. Mill Creek overflowed its banks, flooding multiple warehouses and businesses in the area and prompting the need to rescue at least 55 people due to the rising high water. Assistant Fire Chief Randall Hanifen noted that the water rose swiftly, and many of the businesses, which were housed in warehouse-type buildings, were likely unaware of the danger.
Glad our office and home are uphill from this! 55 workers evacuated by emergency crews after historic flooding https://t.co/vifWHSnyP9
— Bryan Hellard (@bryanhellard) May 19, 2020
5) According to new reports, more than half of the wildfires that occurred in Utah in 2019 were human-caused. Utah had a total of 1,027 wildfires, 690 of which were caused by human activity, including leaving fires unattended and the use of fireworks. The remaining 370 wildfires were caused by lightning, and fire officials are asking residents to use extra caution when using ignition sources this fire season to help prevent wildfires from starting.
— ABC4 News (@abc4utah) May 20, 2020
6) President Trump announced a food assistance program to ranchers and farmers in order to ensure the safety of the food supply chain. The program provides $19 billion overall to the program, with $16 billion going directly to farmers and ranchers to compensate for losses due to the coronavirus. Signup for the program begins on May 26, and the issuing of payments is allegedly to occur a week after filed applications are received.
Are you a #farmer or #rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the #coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. https://t.co/I95fYQfcVT
— F&M Bank (@fmbankva) May 20, 2020
7) Just days before the start of the 2020 hurricane season, emergency officials are concerned that some residents may be impacted by disaster fatigue. Hurricane season begins on June 1 amid the ongoing coronavirus response that has prompted shutdowns across the nation. Emergency management officials are concerned that citizens have had enough of hearing about the virus and could tune out critical messages regarding preparedness and approaching storms.
— Jorge Luis Lopez Esq (@lopezgovlaw) May 20, 2020
8) The expansion of the Panama Canal led to the building of larger container ships, dubbed Panamax ships, and required many ports across the nation to implement infrastructure enhancements to accommodate the larger-sized ships. Enhancements made over the last few years to the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina, including neo-Panamax cranes, led to a historic moment on Wednesday. The MV Hyundai Hope, a Panamax ship, was set to dock for the first time as the largest-ever container ship to visit the NC port. The arrival and docking of this ship in the port will put it on par with other, already enhanced ports, including New York and Charleston.
Get ready to see a real life giant on the Cape Fear River!
Wednesday afternoon, the MV Hyundai Hope will make its way to the port of Wilmington.https://t.co/A1YBbsOoZ9
— WWAY News (@WWAY) May 20, 2020