AMU Emergency Management Original

EDM Monday Briefing: Eruption Occurs at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 21, 2020: The Kilauea volcano erupted unexpectedly on the Big Island of Hawaii Sunday night; USGS observations showed increased seismic activity and a small but notable magma intrusion in early December at Kilauea; a Spare the Air Alert has been issued for San Francisco’s Bay Area for Monday; the CDC and the FDA have issued a new warning regarding the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine; the FDA has announced a food recall for a specific Lean Cuisine product; a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan on Sunday; a large dip in the jet stream increases chances of snow for Christmas across the Southeast; and the shooting at the Great Mall in California was accidental and self-inflicted.

1) The Kilauea volcano erupted unexpectedly overnight Sunday, on the Big Island in Hawaii, which was followed by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake that was felt across the island. The eruption occurred within Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater, and a new lava lake was formed in the summit’s water lake. The current Volcano Alert Level is at Warning, and a Red Alert was issued for aviation, which warns commercial and private aircraft to avoid the area and its potential hazards, including ash, steam, and lava. Kilauea last erupted in 2018, an eruption that continued for several months and destroyed homes and severely damaged or destroyed roads and other infrastructure. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, on November 30, there was an earthquake swarm centered in the middle of the Kilauea caldera, followed by multiple small earthquakes. Additional increased seismic activity was also noted on December 2, which then resulted in a small magma intrusion at Kilauea’s summit. As of Saturday, December 19, the USGS had noted that an eruption was not underway at the Kilauea volcano, but that it was being closely monitored for increased activity

2) A new Spare the Air Alert has been issued in the San Francisco Bay Area, due to increased wood burning smoke. Current weather conditions continue to trap air near the ground, putting air quality levels at moderate on Sunday, with worsening conditions expected into Monday. The Spare the Air Alert prohibits the use of fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves or outdoor fire pits while the alert is in effect. 

3) The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new warning regarding Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations. The warning comes after multiple states reported severe allergic reactions by individuals that had received the vaccine. Consequently, the CDC is cautioning anyone who has had an allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis to any of the ingredients in the vaccine that they should not receive the vaccine. Additionally, the CDC is discouraging those who have had a severe allergic reaction from vaccines or other injectables from receiving the vaccine without a thorough consultation with their doctor. 

4) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a recall for a specific Lean Cuisine product due to potential foreign matter contamination. Nestlé Prepared Foods issued the recall after it received several complaints of hard plastic pieces in its 8 5/8 oz. Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken, white meat chicken with stuffing, red skin mashed potatoes and gravy product, manufactured on September 2, 2020 with a consume by date of October 2021. Nestlé believes that a conveyor belt broke and hard plastic pieces contaminated the mashed potatoes used in the production of the baked chicken meals.  

5) A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan early Monday morning, at a depth of nearly 22 miles. According to the U.S. Geological Society (USGS), the earthquake was centered almost 61 miles to the east-northeast of Hachinohe, Japan, although there was no tsunami threat. The moderate shaking was felt across northeastern Japan; however, there were no reports of injuries or damages due to the quake.  

6) As Christmas approaches, the threat of winter weather increases across the northeast, as a large dip in the jet stream is forecast. The storm is set to form in the Plains during the middle of the week, as the Arctic blast surges south, and then east through the end of the week. The exact center of the storm has not yet been determined, but the storm is forecast to bring heavy rainfall which could lead to flooding, while driving winds are also set to accompany this storm. A rapid turn to snow could impact states as far as the Southeast right before Christmas, and a blast of frigid air is forecast all the way to the Gulf Coast in the wake of the storm.

7) A man is in the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury after he shot himself at a mall in California. Law enforcement received reports of an active shooter at the Great Mall near San Jose, on Saturday at around 5:16 p.m. Store occupants were asked to shelter-in-place after officers arrived and found a 22-year-old man from San Francisco with a gunshot wound that, after a thorough search of the mall and an investigation, was later determined to have been accidentally self-inflicted.

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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