AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: Tower Failure Causes Power Outage in New Orleans

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 30, 2021: Hurricane Ida made landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 hurricane; a 20-story building in Milan was completely destroyed by fire on Sunday; despite samples testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes, Felix Custom Smoking in Washington has not issued a recall for their products; an Entergy transmission tower collapsed into the Mississippi River during Hurricane Ida, cutting power to New Orleans and Jefferson parishes; mandatory evacuation orders were issued for residents near southern Lake Tahoe as the Caldor Fire rapidly expanded; the submarine volcano Fukutoku-Okanoba erupted and sent a plume 11 miles into the sky; FEMA release two new EOC toolkits under its NIMS guidance; the U.S. Forest Service announced the temporary closures of nine national forests; and the Dixie, Caldor, and Monument Fires account for the majority of acres burned in California this wildfire season.

1. Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a strong Category 4 hurricane. The hurricane’s powerful 150-mph winds caused at least 22 barges to break loose of their moorings. One barge struck the Kerner Swing Bridge in Lafitte, likely causing structural damage. Officials have warned residents to avoid using the damaged bridge.

2. A high-rise building caught fire in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, and flames rapidly engulfed the entire building. The fire appears to have started on the 15th floor; however, firefighters were able to evacuate residents before the flames spread. According to reports, the building’s facade was supposed to be fire-resistant, but the entire building was engulfed in the flames within an hour.

3. A fish company in Washington State is not recalling its products despite the potential presence of listeria monocytogenes in its products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took 104 samples at Felix Custom Smoking on July 19, and of those samples, 19 tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Five of those samples were collected from food contact surfaces, and anyone who has eaten the products should be aware that symptoms of listeriosis can manifest up to 70 days after consumption.

4. According to reports, an Entergy transmission tower collapsed into the Mississippi River during Hurricane Ida, cutting power to the majority of New Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The tower collapse impacted all eight of New Orleans’ transmission lines, cutting power to the entire New Orleans parish. Damage assessments began Monday, but it is unknown how long it will take to restore power to affected locations.

5. The Caldor Fire continued its push towards the south end of Lake Tahoe on Sunday, prompting mandatory evacuation orders for residents in El Dorado and Alpine counties. The evacuation order caused nearby Barton Memorial Hospital to evacuate all of its patients to regional partner facilities. According to Cal Fire, the rapid fire spread was due to a significant increase in dynamic fire behavior.

6. An underwater volcano near South Iwo Jima erupted on August 13, sending a plume of steam and volcanic gases up to the lower boundary of the stratosphere. Fukutoku-Okanoba is an active submarine volcano that lies about 80 feet beneath the ocean, and eruptions are usually lower-level plumes or underwater. The eruption was significant due to its unusual height and its potential threat to aviation due to particles, fragments, and falling ash, which could damage jet engines. Additionally, the eruption created pumice islands drifting in the sea, which pose a hazard to ships. The pumice may cause hull and propeller scratches, as well as clogs in engines and cooling systems.

7. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released two new Emergency Operation Center (EOC) toolkit documents to support and enhance toolkits previously released in January. The EOC toolkits include an EOC How-to Quick Reference Guide, along with a FEMA Fact Sheet called EOC References and Resources Tool. The guide will help jurisdictions determine EOC needs, capabilities, requirements, and EOC room design for efficiency and effectiveness. Both toolkits were added to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Emergency Operations Center toolkits, accessible through FEMA’s website under NIMS Components – Guidance and Tools.

8. Due to the ongoing threat of wildfires, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced the temporary closures of nine national forests. Some of those closures involve areas where wildfires are already burning, including Tahoe National Forest and the Plumas and Lassen National Forests. According to Cal Fire, there have been 6,810 wildfires that have destroyed or damaged a total of 2,044 structures and scorched a total of 1,682,620 acres.

9. The Dixie, Caldor and Monument Fires have charred a combined total of more than 1.097 million acres, accounting for a majority of the acres burned so far this wildfire season. Fire containment is at 48% for the Dixie Fire, 29% for the Monument Fire and only 13% for the Caldor Fire, where recent mandatory evacuation orders were issued. The French Fire, actively burning in the Greenhorn Mountains in Kern County, has now burned through 24,920 acres and is only 22% contained.

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.

Comments are closed.