Emergency and disaster management week in review for May 30, 2016
A weekly recap of handpicked emergency and disaster management news, along with analysis and interpretation from our team of experts.
June 1st marked the beginning of hurricane season for the nation, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicating that there is a 45 percent chance of a normal season. El Nino conditions have weakened, however, which usually means La Nina patterns will begin to influence weather and could produce conditions more favorable for hurricane development, such as reduced wind shear over the Atlantic. The recent absence of any major hurricanes making landfall has officials concerned that people have become complacent, so they are asking communities and residents to be prepared.
At least six people died in flooding due to severe rain across Texas, and authorities were searching for an 11-year-old boy in Kansas who was swept away in a flooded creek in Kansas. The Brazos river rose to 54.37 feet overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, and authorities in Fort Bend County rescued at least 40 people due to the flooding. More than 100 people took advantage of 15 area shelters. The floodwaters pushed ants, snakes, and debris into communities and area businesses and stranded farm animals and livestock. Emergency management officials warn that it will take time for waters to recede from the flooding and people should use caution. Just two years ago, the Brazos River had been impacted by an area drought, causing it to run dry in some areas.
— The Bishop (@BillBishopKHOU) May 31, 2016
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one U.S. state in particular is bearing the brunt of climate change: Alaska. Alaska, on a statewide basis, has been warming at a rate of +5.3°F per century since 1950. This beats temperature increases from other U.S. states by a wide margin.
Global news agency Reuters obtained federal cybersecurity reports through a Freedom of Information Act request, and recently published its findings based on those reports: 310 incident reports were logged by the Federal Reserve's cybersecurity team over a four-year span from 2011 to 2015. Of the 310 overall incidents, the Fed’s cybersecurity team classified 140 as hacking attempts, and 51 as information disclosure incidents.
Airlines & Airports
Wait times at the nation's airports over the holiday weekend were reportedly only 10-30 minutes, with just one airport, in Kansas City, MO, reporting a longer wait time -- of about 75 minutes. After being placed under increased scrutiny by Congress following the airline crashes overseas, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) took criticism regarding its extremely long lines that were causing thousands of passengers to miss flights. Procedural changes, including the use of airline employees for non-security related positions, and the shifting of personnel to some of the nation's largest airports, by TSA Administrator, Peter Neffenger, has reduced wait times at most airports.