Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Severe Weather Sweeps the South, Causes Widespread Flooding, Road Closures
EDM Friday Briefing: Severe Weather Sweeps the South, Causes Widespread Flooding, Road Closures

EDM Friday Briefing: Severe Weather Sweeps the South, Causes Widespread Flooding, Road Closures


Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 10, 2019: Heavy rainfall across much of Texas caused flooding that prompted road closures and washed out a railroad track; a British Airways flight en route to Tampa experienced extreme air turbulence that allegedly injured multiple passengers; the two students who opened fire at a STEM school in Colorado are set to be charged in a court hearing on Friday; airport fire and rescue crews are under scrutiny at Russia's Sheremetyevo Airport following the fiery and deadly Aeroflot plane crash Sunday; the CDC is reporting the nation's worst and most widespread measles outbreak since 1994; the November wildfires in California have now topped $12 billion in claims, making them the most expensive fires in the state's history; April border apprehensions were near 99,000 and have reached their highest level since 2007; and severe weather continued to move across the nation, causing widespread flooding that prompted evacuations, school closings, and road closures in several states.

1) Heavy rainfall across much of Texas has led to flooding, flash floods, water rescues and road closings on Tuesday into Wednesday. In Mertzon, a town located about 25 miles southwest of San Angelo, Texas, a flash flood also washed out a Texas Pacifico Transportation railroad track and interrupted rail service. Near Houston, students at an elementary school in Cleveland were stuck at their school -- including 60 children who had to spend the night -- and parents experienced delays in being able to pick up their children.

2) A British Airways flight bound for Tampa, Florida, from London allegedly experienced extreme air turbulence en route that caused the plane to suddenly drop. Flight BA2166, a Boeing 777-200, departed London's Gatwick airport on Sunday evening for Tampa, when the aircraft experienced unexpected turbulence. According to reports, the turbulence caused people to hit the ceiling as the plane dropped without warning. The crew requested paramedics meet the plane when it landed in Tampa, and approximately 14 people received medical attention as a result of the incident.

3) The two students who opened fire at the STEM School in Colorado on Tuesday appeared in court on Wednesday, a day after they were both arrested under suspicion of murder and attempted murder. Identified as 18-year-old Devon Erickson, and 16-year-old Maya Elizabeth McKinney, both were held without bond until their next court appearance on Friday, where they are expected to be formally charged, likely with a single count of first-degree murder and 29 counts of attempted murder. The judge is also expected to make a decision on whether the 16-year-old defendant will be tried as an adult or a juvenile. One person died and eight other students were wounded on Tuesday when the suspects opened fire in two separate locations in the school.

4) Fire and rescue crews at Russia's Sheremetyevo's Airport are under scrutiny for their delayed response to the anticipated crash landing of a passenger jet that was experiencing trouble in flight. The aircraft, a Russian-built SSJ100 regional jet operated by Aeroflot, experienced what officials believe may have been a lightning strike that knocked out communication and other avionics on the aircraft. Airport officials already knew that the aircraft had suffered an autopilot failure and had lost its main radio communication after the pilots sent a distress signal prior to making the emergency landing, but allegedly failed to activate fire crews prior to the landing -- resulting in about a two-minute delay in fighting the fire.

5) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting the worst and most widespread measles outbreak since 1994, with an additional 60 cases being reported as of the past week. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 764 and spans 23 states. According to federal health officials, an 8.5 percent increase in reported cases has occurred just since April 26. Pennsylvania has now joined other states reporting measles cases, and the CDC noted that while they believe vaccination issues are partially to blame, measles can be brought back to the United States from other countries.

6) The wildfires that ripped through California last November have now become the state's most expensive in history. Insurance claims for the separate blazes, including one that destroyed the town of Paradise and two that swept through Southern California, have topped $12 billion, surpassing claims from the state's November 2017 record wildfires. The increased cost of recent wildfires is now making it difficult for homeowners to obtain and afford homeowners insurance throughout the state.

7) Government officials noted that an unprecedented number of border apprehensions were conducted in April, with nearly 99,000 immigrants crossing the U.S. southern border in April of 2019. Many of those crossing the border surrender to U.S. border officials, seeking asylum in the United States due to fears of violence and persecution in their own countries. Top U.S. Border Patrol and other government officials have denoted the unprecedented border crossings as a humanitarian and security crisis that wholly threatens national security.

8) Severe weather continued to move across the nation this week, and a possible tornado on Thursday may have been responsible for ripping the roof off of an apartment complex near Pine Bluff, Arkansas, which caused injuries to several people. The severe weather dumped more rain on areas already saturated with water, including in Kansas, where heavy rainfall forced evacuations and closed schools on Wednesday. The Kansas Turnpike (I-35) also remained closed near the Oklahoma border through Thursday due to flooding, and people were again forced from their homes in Holt County, Missouri, as water inundated communities previously flooded in March.


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.