AMU Emergency Management Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: NHC Is Monitoring Four Systems in the Atlantic

Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 31, 2020: Residents in parts of Louisiana and Texas are likely to remain without power for weeks following impacts from Hurricane Laura; favorable weather conditions have helped firefighters gain containment of wildfires in Colorado; President Trump approved a federal disaster declaration for 6 parishes in Louisiana; the NHC is watching four systems for development in the Atlantic Basin; an Air Quality Alert is in effect at least until Tuesday for San Francisco’s Bay Area; the CDC now states that 94 percent of reported COVID-19 deaths had approximately 2.6 additional and underlying causes; California wildfires have scorched over 1.66 million acres so far during the 2020 season; and a new AD from the FAA for various versions of Airbus A320 aircraft, for potential windshield failures due to central frame fatigue cracks, impacts more than 1,200 aircraft in the United States.

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1) Residents in parts of Louisiana and Texas are likely to remain without power for weeks following Hurricane Laura. Laura caused severe damage to power lines, and flooding has prevented residents in Cameron, Louisiana, from returning to their homes until Sunday. Many of the homes in the small town were completely destroyed by storm surge flooding, indicating that the National Weather Service (NWS) statement of “unsurvivable storm surge” associated with Hurricane Laura was accurate.

2) Weather conditions became more favorable in Colorado with rainfall wetting areas of the Grizzly Creek Fire and Williams Fork Fire, helping to reduce their spread and allowing for greater containment. While the rain assisted in dampening the wildfires, concerns over debris flows remain and motorists along I-70 are urged to exercise caution when traveling due to these potential debris flows. Some road closures remain in the area of the Grizzly Creek Fire, and Excel Energy is working to install new power poles in the Glenwood Canyon area that were damaged by the wildfire.

3) Parishes across Louisiana that were impacted by Hurricane Laura received a federal disaster approval from President Trump last Friday. Residents who live in approved disaster-declared parishes are now eligible to register for Individual Assistance aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Six parishes are eligible to apply, including Vernon, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis. Residents can apply online or by phone.

4) The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently watching four areas in the Atlantic Basin for development. Two systems, one in the Caribbean Sea and the other just off the southeastern coast of the United States, have at least a 70-80% chance of developing into a tropical depression. Should the system just off the southeastern coast of the U.S. develop into a storm, it will be named Nana and will likely move out to sea without becoming a threat to land.

5) An Air Quality Alert has been extended through Tuesday, September 1 for the San Francisco Bay Area due to wildfire smoke. Elevated levels of smoke and air particulates have caused a rise in unhealthy air conditions, prompting Spare the Air to issue an alert and advisory for the area, which include bans on burning. Current air quality is at Level Orange, or unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals, including those with asthma or other respiratory diseases.

6) A newly released report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now shows that 94% of deaths due to COVID-19 actually had other contributing medical conditions. The CDC noted that only 6% of all COVID-19 reported deaths were due only to the virus; the remaining patients had health conditions and other contributing causes. There were approximately 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death, meaning that other health issues present in each patient led to co-morbidity conditions within the patient, contributing to death.

7) Across California, there have been a total of 7,175 wildfires that have burned more than 1.66 million acres and contributed to the deaths of seven people. So far, the fires have destroyed or severely damaged 2,978 structures and have also led to multiple air quality alerts in numerous locations throughout the state. Almost 16,000 firefighters are working to contain the wildfires, and Red Flag Warnings are in effect for Del Norte and Northeast Humboldt counties due to gusty winds and low humidity levels.

8) After receiving reports of fatigue cracks in the central frame of the windshield of certain Airbus A320 aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a new Air Worthiness Directive (AD) for the affected aircraft. The new AD, which states that the issue could lead to failure of the windshield and a possible decompression of the aircraft, affects 1,203 airplanes currently operated by carriers inside the United States. The Airbus models impacted by the AD include multiple versions of the A318, A319, A320 and the A321.


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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