Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for Kansas
EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for Kansas

EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for Kansas


Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 29, 2019: President Trump approves a disaster declaration after the Kansas City area was hit by a large tornado Tuesday night; an EF-3 tornado caused widespread destruction and killed one person when it ripped through Celina, Ohio, on Monday night; the recent spat of severe weather has broken a record after the 12th consecutive day of at least eight reported tornadoes; officials in Tulsa are concerned that 70-year-old levees meant to contain the Arkansas River may not hold; record flooding prompts the opening of the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana for only the third time since it was built in 1954; two people are dead and dozens were injured following a 8.0 earthquake that struck a remote area of Peru; regulations are still in place that allowed low-cost -- and deadly -- building material use in the Grenfell Tower fire disaster; and major companies step up to provide relief aid to millions affected by Midwest flooding, severe weather, and tornadoes.

1) President Trump approved a disaster declaration at the request of the governor of Kansas on Tuesday evening after a tornado touched down on the outskirts of Kansas City that injured at least 12 people. The twister was reportedly about a mile wide and cut a path toward Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas' main campus and approximately 100,000 residents. Most of the damage, which included downed power lines, large trees, and debris spread across roadways, was reported outside the city limits and in Linwood, where homes were damaged or destroyed by the alleged mile-wide tornado.

2) On Monday night, an EF-3 tornado ripped through Celina, a town about 60 miles north of Dayton, Ohio. The tornado killed one person, injured seven others, and cut a wide swath of destruction and devastation. It was just one of at least 10 tornadoes that touched down across six counties in the state. The twister, which packed winds of 136-165 mph, snapped trees, downed power lines, ripped off roofs, destroyed homes, and littered the area with widespread debris. Emergency management officials reported trouble with the local water system, and many residents across the area were without power and under a boil water alert on Tuesday.

3) A record was broken on Tuesday when it became the 12th consecutive day with at least eight tornado reports. According to the National Weather Service, in just 30 days, they have logged preliminary reports of more than 500 tornadoes -- a rare occurrence if they are all verified. The severe weather outbreak has been fueled by two sources -- a high-pressure area that drew in warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, combined with a trough that included strong winds and was trapped over the Rockies. That combination has spawned the current stretch of severe weather that officials say is not over just yet.

4) Officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma are concerned that 70-year-old levees will not withstand additional water if the area receives any more rain. The levees hold back the Arkansas River, which has swollen to an all-time high after massive thunderstorms dumped torrential rains across Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and other surrounding states. On Tuesday, the Arkansas River water level in Fort Smith, Arkansas, rose two feet higher than the previous record high. The forecast crest is not supposed to happen until Wednesday -- and it calls for yet another two-foot rise in the river -- without any more rainfall.

5) Severe weather that has dumped record-shattering rainfall amounts has triggered widespread and devastating flooding across multiple states. Most of these states are in the Midwest, and the flooding has the high potential to impact food supplies and prices due to affected farms. The widespread flooding has also prompted officials to announce they would open the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana for only the third time since it was built in 1954. Damages are estimated to exceed $1 billion in individual states. According to U.S. Army Corps officials, the flooding of the Mississippi is unprecedented and could beat a 1973 record flood that lasted 223 days.

6) The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) detected a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that struck in a remote area of the Amazon jungle in Peru that left at least two dead and injured more than 30 people. Sunday's strong temblor was centered about 57 miles north of Yarimaguas, a town in northern Peru, at a depth of just over 68 miles, and struck at around 0741 UTC. The quake was reportedly the strongest to hit the country in 12 years. The shaking was felt as far away as Colombia and Venezuela, while nearby Ecuador reported 15 people being injured by the earthquake.

7) Two years ago in June, the Grenfell Tower, an apartment complex in London, erupted in a fire that spread rapidly and killed 72 people. The rapid spread of the fire was due to a type of low-cost aluminum paneling on the outside of the building that is backed by a plastic sheet -- or solidified fuel to a burning fire -- that allows flames to spread quickly. Promises from the government to prevent another death-trap disaster have reportedly fallen short, with at least 16,000 private apartments still wrapped in the paneling and 8,400 public housing apartments that still await a full repair. Regulations that favor cheap building practices for businesses are reportedly still in place, despite a huge outcry from the public and the government's promise to rethink them, leaving tens of thousands of residents at risk.

8) Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Anheuser-Busch have provided aid to the tens of thousands of residents that have been affected by flooding and severe weather -- including recent tornadoes -- in the Midwest.  Funding, materials, and volunteers are supplied by the Home Depot Foundation to aid non-profit partners, while Wal-Mart has donated cash and supplies to relief efforts for areas hit hard by tornadoes and flooding. In partnership with the Red Cross, Anheuser-Busch has produced more than 150,000 cans of drinking water to residents of Missouri and Oklahoma affected by flooding and severe weather.


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.