Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 7, 2020: Hurricane Delta makes landfall in Mexico as a Category 2 storm; the NHC is expecting Delta to rapidly intensify again as it re-emerges into the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico; Ethiopia bans all flights over its Grand Renaissance Dam, citing security concerns; 16 firefighters assigned to the Glass Fire were assessed for carbon monoxide poisoning; a Spare the Air Alert is in effect for residents in the San Fransisco Bay Area; a wind advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for much of New York, with potential power outages possible; UHS confirms that all of its U.S. sites were impacted by the cyberattack that occurred in September; and over 4 million acres have been scorched by wildfires in California so far this year, with 23 major fires still burning.

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1) Hurricane Delta hit the Yucatan Peninsula early Wednesday morning as a Category 2 storm, with winds speeds of about 110 mph. Delta rapidly intensified from a tropical depression into a major Category 4 hurricane from Monday to Tuesday before losing some strength and making landfall in Mexico. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting another rapid intensification after Delta re-emerges into the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with the storm likely becoming a Category 4 storm again in 36-48 hours.

2) The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is expecting Hurricane Delta to increase significantly in size, extending hazardous conditions further outward from its center and impacting a larger area along the northern Gulf Coast. A second landfall by the intense, likely major hurricane, is forecast to hit somewhere along the Louisiana coast as early as Friday afternoon. Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds are likely to begin impacting Mississippi and Louisiana beginning on Friday, and residents in the projected path of the storm should monitor its progress closely.

3) Filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) began in July, and Ethiopia has now banned all flights over the disputed dam. According to Ethiopian officials, the banning of flights was for security purposes, as the dam will begin producing power from twin turbines this year. Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt have been engaged in a long-running dispute over the dam, its filling, and operation. Experts fear the move will increase tensions among the three nations.

4) CalFire stated that about 16 firefighters assigned to the Glass Fire were assessed for carbon monoxide exposure on Tuesday, with one firefighter being transported to the hospital. Containment for the Glass Fire has reached about 50-60%, with 2,522 personnel assigned to the fire — including 34 crews — and evacuation orders remain in place. The blaze, which is burning in Napa and Sonoma counties, has scorched over 67,000 acres, destroyed 1,483 structures, and damaged another 278, since it began nine days ago.

5) A Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Wednesday through Thursday in the San Fransisco Bay Area. The alert was issued due to smoke from ongoing wildfires moving into the area, which is expected to produce unhealthy air quality levels. Air quality levels are expected to be at Orange, with particulate matter being at about PM102, making it unhealthy for sensitive groups (USG). The alert also makes it illegal to burn within the warning area.

6) The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a wind advisory for much of New York for Wednesday until 8 p.m. Forecasts for the region show winds gusts of 50-55 mph are possible for much of the state, which could down trees and power lines and cause scattered power outages. A hazardous weather outlook has also been issued for most of the state, with all of the forecast significant weather due to a particularly strong, approaching cold front.

7) Universal Health Systems (UHS) confirmed that the ransomware attack sustained in September did affect all U.S. care sites and hospitals. UHS is one of the largest U.S. health systems, and hackers launched the attack on September 27, affecting computer systems, phone services, internet, and data centers. The attack caused emergency department systems to begin shutting down, a shutdown which then proliferated across the network — initially rerouting some ambulances to alternate locations. IT officials believe the Ryuk variant was used in the malicious malware attack. However, due to its quick shutdown action, UHS is already beginning to restore systems and applications.

8) As wildfire season continues in California, more than four million acres have been scorched and 23 major wildfires are still being fought by 16,400 firefighters across the state. On Monday, 35 new fires began. However, firefighters were able to quickly and fully contain all of them. A total of 31 deaths have resulted from the wildfires, with more than 8,819 structures destroyed and hundreds of others damaged. Humidity levels across the state remain low, and temperatures are set to increase at the end of the weak, increasing the potential for the growth of current fires, along with the start of new ones.