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EDM Friday Briefing: NEP Application Period Open Until November 1

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 27, 2021: San Diego rolled out their improved mobile emergency app with an integrated earthquake early warning capability; NOAA data reveals that California is hit by at least one tsunami each year; an autonomous cargo ship is set to make its maiden voyage later this year; an Alabama river will run red for testing purposes next week in Madison County; new evacuation orders were issued for the Dixie Fire as firefighters hold lines for Taylorsville; Ida is likely to be a major hurricane when it hits the Gulf Coast late Sunday or early Monday; undersea tunnels will be drilled to facilitate the release of the treated radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Japan; and the application period for requests for exercise support from the NEP is now open.

1. Residents of San Diego are now able to receive early earthquake warnings with the county’s emergency app. A new, improved version of the SD Emergency app rolled out Wednesday after nearly a year of collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The app now features ShakeReadySD, which is powered by the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system, marking its first integration with an existing emergency app.

2. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 150 tsunamis have reached the shores of California since 1880. Although many of them were barely noticed, 42 of those occurred in Los Angeles County. The most recent occurred on July 29, when about a foot of water rolled ashore after an 8.2 earthquake struck Alaska. The most damaging one in recent history occurred in 2011 after Japan’s major earthquake, and it caused approximately $100 million in damages to the state’s harbors and ports.

3. An autonomous, electric cargo ship is set to make its maiden voyage later this year between two Norwegian towns. The ship, the Yara Birkeland, produced by Yara International, is a zero-emissions vessel that can travel at approximately 15 mph while carrying about 60 shipping containers that are 40 foot long. The ship will recharge quayside and then visit harbors along the European coast, likely replacing about 40,000 truck journeys per year when it is put into service.

4. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management will begin testing water flow on the Flint River next week. Testing is to be done from Hazel Green to Owens Cross Roads in Madison County, and the water will be marked with red dye. A notification from the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency noted that the dye is not harmful, and they are unsure on what day of the week the testing will occur.

5. New evacuation orders were issued Thursday for locations within Plumas County due to the Dixie Fire. So far, firefighters have been able to prevent the fire from reaching Taylorsville, and they continue to mop up and prep the dozer line on the ridge behind the town. Winds of 5-10 mph with gusts of about 15 mph, critically dry fuel, and single-digit humidity levels continue to challenge firefighting efforts.

6. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is cautioning residents along the Gulf Coast to be prepared for the approach of Tropical Storm Ida. The storm is set to reach hurricane-strength winds by Saturday afternoon, and is forecast to become a major hurricane – Category 3 or above – by landfall sometime late Sunday or early Monday. The current track shows landfall in Louisiana; however, the NHC cautions that hurricane conditions are likely all along the Gulf Coast and has warned the public not to focus on the forecast cone.

7. Operators of the now-defunct Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan announced Wednesday they plan to build undersea tunnels to facilitate the release of treated radioactive water without harming the local fishing industry. The tunnels will be drilled through the bedrock near Reactor 5, which did not suffer damage, in order to minimize leakage or potential underground contamination. The Fukushima Daiichi plant has been storing the contaminated water onsite, but will reach its storing capacity near the end of next year. Plant managers plan to begin releasing the wastewater in early 2023.

8. The application period for requests for exercise support from the National Exercise Program (NEP) is now open. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Exercise Division noted that submissions are due by November 1, 2021, and decisions will be made by December 10. To assist jurisdictions and community partners, five webinars are being held by FEMA, beginning August 30. Registration is required and interested organizations should visit the NEP webinar page to register.

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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