AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Southern US Ports Increasing Their Capacity

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Image courtesy of William William on Unsplash.

Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 29, 2021: Three schools in Florida were evacuated Tuesday for bomb threats; Hurricane Sam continues to fluctuate in strength but poses no current threat to land; tightened emissions controls and a lack of coal have prompted widespread power cuts in China; lava flowing from the volcano on La Palma Island has finally reached the Atlantic Ocean; widespread power cuts in China are likely to impact global shipping and supply chains; officials in Grand Isle have closed the island to everyone except homeowners and camp owners; Tropical Depression Twenty formed off the African coast in the Atlantic Ocean early Wednesday; and ports across the southern U.S. seek to increase container capacity amid ongoing shipping concerns.

1. Three schools in Florida were evacuated on Tuesday after receiving bomb threats. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the threats, which were originally sent to Newberry High School and Oakview Middle School. Nearly an hour and a half later, Eastside High School in Gainesville was also evacuated after receiving a threat. This was the third day in a row that Newberry High School was evacuated due to a bomb threat.

2. Hurricane Sam continues to fluctuate in its intensity as it moves northwestward in the Atlantic Ocean. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that current threats from the storm are from its generation of large ocean swells, which lead to life-threatening surf and dangerous rip currents. Sam is not expected to make landfall anywhere, but the system is likely to encounter vertical wind shear before moving over cooler waters and turning to the north-northeast.

3. Tightened emission standards, coupled with a shortage of coal, have prompted power cuts in China. The power outages have affected millions of homes, shut down factories, impacted mobile phone service and nearly disrupted water supplies to one province. The rationing of electricity began without any advanced warning and caused carbon monoxide poisoning in utility workers when ventilators stopped working during a power outage.

4. Lava flowing from the volcano on La Palma Island in the Canary Islands reached the Atlantic Ocean late on Tuesday. When lava flows meet ocean waters, the combination can generate an acid, deadly cloud of hot steam. Nearby coastal communities were evacuated due to the threat, and reports indicate that the eruption of the volcano continues.

5. Power outages in China have impacted global shipping markets after some of the nation’s busiest ports were left in the dark. Production at factories in at least 10 Chinese provinces was also halted, affecting steel markets, plastics, home appliances, chemicals and textiles. It is unclear how long the power cuts will continue, and impacts will likely exacerbate delays in receiving shipments at ports.

6. Officials in Grand Isle, Louisiana, made an announcement that the island is closed to all but residents and camp owners. Much of the island was heavily damaged when Category 4 Hurricane Ida made landfall just a few miles away on August 29. The damage includes complete destruction of the island’s electrical infrastructure and 80% of the structures on the island.

7. Two more tropical systems are churning off the coast of Africa, including one that is now a tropical depression. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) advised that an area of low pressure several hundred miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands strengthened into Tropical Depression Twenty. The system is fairly well organized and is producing a large area of showers and thunderstorms around a well-defined center of circulation.

8. As berthing delays continue along the West Coast, ports across the southern United States are increasing their container capacity. The Port of Savannah hopes to complete its first phase of increased capacity in December of 2021, with final completion of its 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units in capacity by 2023. The Port of Jacksonville, Florida (JAXPORT), has also recently approved a container capacity expansion project, forecast to be completed by 2024, which will grow the port’s throughput by 40%.

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.