AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Yosemite National Park Set to Close, Oroville Dam Spillway at Risk

Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 6, 2018: A suspect is in custody after allegedly detonating an explosive device in a California Sam’s Club store, Northern California is bracing for heavy rains from an atmospheric river beginning on Friday, the partially repaired spillway of the Oroville Dam may be at risk from the impending storm, Yosemite National Park is set to close on Friday ahead of the storm that is forecast to dump heavy rains in the area, the City of Atlanta takes down its water department website indefinitely after its recent cyber attack, Public Health officials in Colorado announce an infection control breach at the Porter Adventist Hospital, a widely felt 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck just off the coast of California early Thursday afternoon, and the FDA ordered the recall of an herbal supplement testing positive for salmonella from Las Vegas based Triangle Pharmanaturals after the company allegedly refused to cooperate.

  1. A suspect is in custody following [link url=”” title=”a small explosion inside a Sam’s Club in Ontario, California on Thursday”]. Law enforcement was called to the scene after a popping noise was heard, and discovered the small explosive. A witness pointed out the suspect, and after a short pursuit, [link url=”” title=”police pulled over Hugo Gonzalez, 49″], and found additional materials similar to those used in the explosive device in the store. There were no injuries to shoppers or employees, and the store did not suffer any structural damage from the explosion.  
  2. Northern California is bracing itself for [link url=”” title=”a deluge of rain from an atmospheric river”] that is set to impact the region beginning on Friday. The heaviest rain is forecast to fall on the burn-scarred areas in Sonoma County, with totals anywhere from 4 to 6 inches. Officials say it is not the total, but the [link url=”” title=”rate at which that amount of rain falls to the ground”] that has them concerned–because it makes neighborhoods susceptible to mudslides and debris flows from burn scars. 
  3. As the latest atmospheric river impacts the West Coast, at risk in Northern California is [link url=”” title=”the spillway of the nation’s tallest dam”], where heavy March rains and warm temperatures have begun snow melt in the Sierra Nevada range, increasing water levels in Lake Oroville. Dam experts are warning area residents that the partially repaired spillway for the Oroville Dam may need to be used if lake levels continue to rise due to the heavy rains. Officials are concerned that the [link url=”” title=”spillway’s temporary roller-compacted concrete surface, which is not as smooth as the permanent one”], will not hold up to the outflow from the dam if the spillway is placed in use. 
  4. In preparation for the incoming storm, the National Park System has also announced that [link url=”” title=”Yosemite National Park will be closed beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 6″], including all lodging and camping areas. Anyone visiting the park must leave, and campground and visitor lodging reservations for Friday, April 6,  and Saturday, April 7, have also been cancelled. The storm’s forecast shows [link url=”” title=”significant impacts to Yosemite National Park, along with the entire central Sierra Nevada region”] and officials urge visitors in the region to make alternate travel plans.  
  5. The City of Atlanta is still trying to recover from one of the most [link url=”” title=”disruptive cyber attacks to ever strike a U.S. local government”]. On Thursday, the city took down its water department website–the hardest hit department in the hack–indefinitely for server maintenance and updates. The attack continues to [link url=”” title=”block access to various county public services”], including databases, the collection of public service payments, and municipal court dates.  
  6.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement on Wednesday that [link url=”” title=”the Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver may have placed surgical patients at risk of infections and other illnesses”] due to an inadequate process for cleaning surgical instruments. The infection control breach is said to be significantly widespread and affected orthopedic and spine surgeries conducted from July 21, 2016 to February 20 of this year. The health department does report that although it is possible, [link url=”” title=”the risk of surgical site infections and contraction of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV”] is considered to be low.  
  7. A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck [link url=”” title=”just off the coast of California early Thursday afternoon”], near the Channel Islands between Los Angeles and Ventura. It was allegedly the strongest quake to hit the region in nearly 30 years and was the most widely felt earthquake since the Encino quake of a 4.4 magnitude in 2014. Cities along the coast quickly tweeted that they were aware of the quake and were already implementing protocols for [link url=”” title=”checking infrastructure and critical locations”] for any damages or issues. 
  8. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has [link url=”” title=”ordered a Las Vegas company to recall its herbal supplement, which contains kratom, after it tested positive for salmonella”]. Kratom has been linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella, and the FDA states that the unprecedented move to demand the recall of the supplement came after Triangle Pharmanaturals allegedly refused to cooperate with U.S. regulators by voluntarily recalling the product. Kratom, in various brands, has been linked to nearly 90 cases of salmonella cases across 35 states, and the [link url=”” title=”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that almost 30 of those cases required hospitalization”].  
  9. The National Weather Service (NWS) has stated that the threat of [link url=”” title=”strong to severe weather exists Friday afternoon–and into the evening–over areas in the southern plains and lower Mississippi Valley”]–including portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The threat includes severe thunderstorms that will produce large hail and damaging wind gusts, although some tornadoes may also be possible. The NWS is urging residents to [link url=”” title=”check local weather forecasts”] and be aware of current watches and warnings for their area.  

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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