Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 13, 2021: Heavy rainfall, high water, and landslides from an atmospheric river impact the Pacific Northwest; the Midwestern pet food recall is expanded as at least 70 dogs have died and 80 more are ill; more than 500,000 people are without power following high winds overnight in Washington State; officials vote to move forward with the Pacheco Creek Dam despite costs more than doubling; dozens of cars had at least one flat tire on I-70 in Colorado from screws on the road; in a recent SEC filing, SolarWinds claims it has found the source of the recent malicious cyberattack; Colorado is bracing for extremely high winds ahead of a powerful cold front; and reports suggest IT cybersecurity experts are facing burnout amid the pandemic and an ever-increasing number of malicious attacks.
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1) An atmospheric river has moved over the Pacific Northwest, bringing a torrent of rain that led to flooding and landslides. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flood watch through Wednesday in Portland, and service on commuter trains traveling from Snohomish County to Seattle have been cancelled due to the threat of landslides. A landslide in Washington State blocked the northbound lane of US-101, and an upward trend in avalanches is expected in the coming days.
2) Midwestern Pet Food has expanded the recall of its Sportmix pet food products after the deaths of at least 70 dogs. Another 80 dogs have become ill, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin in certain products produced by the company. The products recalled were produced at a plant in Oklahoma, with “05” in the lot code/date, of which more than 1,000 are affected.
This recall has been expanded !!— Roxanne Hawn (@roxannehawn) January 12, 2021
FDA Alert: Certain Lots of Sportmix Pet Food Recalled for Potentially Fatal Levels of Aflatoxin https://t.co/CgcEdBTLmf
3) At least 500,000 people are without power in western Washington after a line of strong storms that produced high winds moved through very early Wednesday morning. Wind speeds were reportedly in excess of 50 mph, with gusts exceeding 70 mph in some locations. According to reports, at least 305,000 Puget Sound Energy customers alone were without power, and hundreds of trees and power lines were down across Snohomish and Skagit counties. I-5 was closed in both directions around 1 a.m., due to downed power lines across the road, although the interstate was reopened about an hour later.
4) The Pacheco Creek Dam, a 319-foot-high structure on Pacheco Creek, is set to be built in southern Santa Clara County — near the Pacheco Pass — as a backup water supply for the county. The cost of building the largest dam in the Bay Area has more than doubled in price after the discovery of an unstable rock layer. Despite the rise in the dam’s cost from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion dollars and the proposal of other potentially less costly options, officials made the decision on Tuesday to move forward with the high dollar project.
$2.5 billion Pacheco Dam plan moves ahead, despite cost increase https://t.co/IDkNYtuABS— Jim Jakobs (@jimjakobs) January 13, 2021
5) Dozens of cars ended up with at least one flat tire along I-70 in Colorado on Monday between Lookout Mountain and Evergreen Parkway. Law enforcement officials believe the incident was caused by a box of screws that inadvertently fell out of someone’s truck. The Colorado State Patrol-Golden was inundated with calls to assist motorists, and it called tow trucks and helped to change flat tires. The Colorado Department of Transportation assisted with the cleanup of the screws on the roadway.
35+ flat tires on I-70, CSP searching for driver who dropped screws on highway https://t.co/VXUOioJ7vO— 9NEWS Denver (@9NEWS) January 12, 2021
6) In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SolarWinds stated that it found the source of the recent malicious cyberattack. It is thought that the hackers mimicked legitimate network traffic across multiple servers in the United States, effectively circumventing threat detection. According to reports, SolarWinds noted that, even after reverse-engineering the code and learning more about the tool that was deployed, the company was unable to independently verify the hackers.
7) Colorado is bracing for a powerful cold front that is forecast to move into the region on Thursday. Meteorologists are forecasting wind gusts of at least 80 mph in the foothills ahead of the approaching cold front, with wind speeds of 20-40 mph and higher in Denver. A high wind watch has been issued for Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning for multiple locations, and temperatures are likely to push into the low 60s on Wednesday.
8) Remote working has created challenges for cybersecurity teams as they work to protect business networks. Threats against companies have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing higher workloads for IT cybersecurity staff. Phishing, malware, and spyware attacks have increased, coupled with the challenge of remote workers logging into company systems from home internet connections and personal computers. Reports suggest that IT security experts are facing burnout as they struggle to detect threats amid the uptick in these recent challenges as they remain isolated from coworkers.
Cybersecurity teams are struggling with burnout, but the attacks keep coming https://t.co/1G9diFC3CK @ZDNet @dannyjpalmer https://t.co/1G9diFC3CK #Cybersecurity #AutomateTheBasics pic.twitter.com/iDFo6eYwpg— RedSeal (@RedSeal_co) January 13, 2021