EDM Monday Briefing: Thai Soccer Team Trapped in Cave; 416 Wildfire in Colorado Continues to Spread
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 25, 2018: A Thai soccer team and their coach have been trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand; the 416 Wildfire near Durango, Colorado, continues to spread; heavy rains have battered certain U.S. regions for the past several weeks; a review of 911 service outage in Broward County, Florida, on April 27 found that more than 200 calls were affected; another two explosions at Kilauea; and an unannounced practice emergency drill on Capitol Hill prompted a brief evacuation Hart Senate Office Building employees.
1) Twelve teenage boys and their soccer coach have been missing for two days in a flooded cave in northern Thailand near the border with Myanmar, CNN News reports. Officials said Monday they believe all are still alive.
Investigators reported that the team, which has been missing since Saturday, crawled into the Tham Luang Nang Non Cave through a narrow 15-meter (five-foot) long channel. Rising waters then blocked their path, which is about as wide as a single person, leaving the group stuck inside the cave network, an official with Thailand's national parks authority told CNN.
Rising waters in the cave on Monday hampered rescuers, including a Navy SEAL team. “We believe the students have gone further in,” said SEAL team member Lt. Naponwath Homsai.
2) The 416 wildfire near Durango, Colorado, is showing new signs of life after spreading across another 584 acres Sunday, the Denver Post says. Fortunately, the wildfire is mostly burning away from populated areas in the San Juan National Forest.
The fire, which started on June 1, now covers 34,962 acres and is only 37 percent contained. With hot temperatures forecast for all this week, fire experts warn that the blaze could continue to grow.
3) The East Coast, the Great Lakes region and the Deep South have been battered by heavy rains for the past several weeks. Many cities along the Atlantic coast -- Philadelphia, Charlottesville, Ocean City, Ellicott City and Frederick, Maryland -- have experienced major flooding since mid-May.
Experts say the immense rains — some spawned by tropical ocean waters, others by once-routine thunderstorms — are the product of long-rising air temperatures and an increase in the sheer size of the storms. Because warmer air can hold more water, large storms are dropping far more rain at a faster clip, the Washington Post reports.
4) A Sun Sentinel review of an outage of 911 service in Broward County, Florida, on April 27 found that more than 200 calls were affected. Although emergency managers said they were not aware of any critical repercussions, the review of audio records made when 911 operators contacted the missed callers showed many instances where callers needed help.
But 911 operators were able to reach fewer than half of those who had called. The operators left voice messages for about 55 callers but received no answer, a busy signal or other failures to connect.
5) The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports two explosions at Kilauea’s summit this weekend released high energy, but very little ash, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The first explosion Saturday afternoon created a small ash plume that rose less than 2,000 feet and drifted southwest.
The second explosion on Sunday afternoon released an ash plume that barely rose above ground level, the HVO reported. Each of the explosions released energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake. There was no tsunami threat from either explosion.
6) An unannounced emergency practice exercise on Capitol Hill on Monday morning led to a brief evacuation of some workers in the Hart Senate Office Building. “There is no immediate threat to the area,” U.S. Capitol Police told the Washington Post. The hour and a half exercise ended at about 10:30 a.m., officials said.