AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Glen Canyon Dam Water Level Dangerously Low

Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 14, 2022: Arctic air is dropping down and producing another winter storm for the weekend; a Norway dam removal will allow trout and other fish to migrate again; new rules at the Port of Oakland will allegedly reduce congestion and increase safety in the Bay Area waters; the FAA published more that 1,400 notices regarding sensitive flight controls on aircraft and the new 5G tower rollouts; a flood control gate is stuck in the open position on the Edenville Dam in Michigan; the Glen Canyon Dam is reaching a dangerously low water level that could impact the generation of electricity; January is Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month; and FEMA has released the 2021 National Preparedness Report.

1. Another winter storm is developing as Arctic air drops down from Canada, producing heavy snow across parts of the mid-Atlantic region. Winter weather is likely to reach into the upper South, with rain and a wintry mix, which may include sleet, freezing rain, or ice down into Tennessee, north Alabama, Georgia, and possibly Mississippi. An ice storm is forecast to strike the Carolinas. However, there is still a chance for the storm to shift anywhere from 50-100 miles, which will significantly impact where the worst of the winter weather hits.

2. A 22-foot hydroelectric dam that sat unused for 50 years was finally removed in Norway. The dam, built in 1916, was located in the town of Fåvang on the Tromsa River, a major fish migratory route for several fish species. Allegedly, trout will be the major benefactors as they will be able to migrate at least 10 miles upstream with the dam’s removal.

3. New rules launched by the Port of Oakland will reduce the number of ships anchored in the Bay Area. The new rules will require ships to receive an assignment time from the port, and they will need to remain 50 miles offshore prior to that. The new Safety and Air Quality Area will allegedly leave the bay waters open, reduce congestion, minimize impacts to air quality and allow more space between vessels to increase safety.

4. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began issuing notices regarding 5G interference for some sensitive flight controls early Thursday. More than 1,400 notices were issued, generally prohibiting head-up display (HUD) and enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) to touchdown, among other critical flight operations once the 5G rollout occurs on January 19. The FAA published a list of 50 airports last week that will be protected from 5G for six months while further studies are conducted.

5. A flood control gate is stuck in the open position at the Edenville Dam in Michigan. The dam previously failed in 2020, due to static liquefaction after heavy rainfall from a spring storm. Currently, the open floodgate is creating faster currents and higher water levels downstream, which could make ice unstable. Midland County Emergency Management is asking residents to avoid ice fishing, walking or other recreational activities on the river.

6. The Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona is only at 27% of its capacity, the lowest water level since the dam was filled. The Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963 and brought online two years later, providing electricity to millions of residents. According to dam officials, the lake level is critical because it sits just 35 feet above the minimum power production pool elevation since the ongoing drought began 22 years ago. This is the lowest level of water at which Glen Canyon Dam can generate electricity.

7. Cancer is the leading cause of death for firefighters. To help increase awareness, January is Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month. Several resources are available from various organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). The NVFC will host an online webinar, “Firefighter Cancer: Actions to Reduce Risks,” on January 18 through Facebook Live. The webinar can also be accessed through Zoom.

8. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the 2021 National Preparedness Report in December. The report covers events that occurred in 2020 and will help to reduce risk through the identification of management opportunities. The report found that overall, the nation is closer to achieving preparedness goals, but it also provides steps that can be taken by community leaders to identify and address capability gaps.

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.

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