Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 15, 2021: Volcanologists caution that increased seismic activity at Mauna Loa could signal a forthcoming eruption; a major sandstorm forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights in Beijing; WHO suggests the current Guinea Ebola outbreak allegedly came from latent human infection; Colorado was slammed with feet of snow that prompted the closure of roads and DEN; several tornadoes touched down in Texas amid severe weather on Saturday; applications are now being accepted for the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) offered by DHS/FEMA; severe weather is possible for several regions in the nation on Wednesday and Thursday; and the NWCG highlights noise as a factor in miscommunications and injuries for wildland firefighters.
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1. Volcanologists are carefully watching Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano as seismic activity has increased over the past week. A total of about 200 small-magnitude earthquakes were recorded beneath the volcano at shallow depths of about four miles. Measurements from the Global Positioning System (GPS) indicate a summit inflation consistent with magma supply that although slow, has continued since it began in January.
Forbes: Mauna Loa, The World’s Biggest Volcano, Is Waking Up And It’s Time To Prep For An Eruption.https://t.co/a0yUbwsXbL@USGS_Quakes @usgs_seismic @USGSVolcanoes @IRIS_EPO @Volcanoes_NPS— Sandra Repar BLM (@ReparSandra) March 13, 2021
The activity of the Earth is amazing, but it's also how science gives us warnings.
2. Hundreds of flights in China were cancelled on Monday after a sandstorm enveloped Beijing and much of the nation’s north. The sandstorm originated in the Gobi Desert, which forced school closures in the Inner Mongolia Region. High winds and low visibility led to the cancellation of flights from the two main airports in the nation’s capital, with the sand and dust forecast to impact at least 12 provinces.
3. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea was allegedly sparked by a latent human infection from the previous outbreak. According to experts, the infection can remain viable in Ebola survivors in specific locations within the body. This means that the disease can potentially be transmitted to others, although some say more research is needed.
The sequences from the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea were posted on virological, and they are, to put it mildly, absolutely stunning.— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) March 12, 2021
The sequences are only 12-13 nucleotides different from those circulating in the 2014-2016 epidemic.https://t.co/a7mE7z696R
4. A massive snowstorm slammed Colorado, prompting multiple closures on Sunday, including roadways and the Denver International Airport (DEN). A blizzard warning was in effect for Denver, where a total of 27.1 inches of snow had fallen by midnight on Sunday. The National Guard was activated to assist with the search and rescue efforts, and the storm moved up into the number four slot in the state’s top snowstorms.
Runways and roads remain closed after a weekend blizzard slams the Denver area.https://t.co/Mtshaql8EY— FreightWaves (@FreightWaves) March 15, 2021
5. Severe thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon in Texas spawned several tornadoes. The tornadoes touched down in northwest Texas, with tornado warnings in effect from the National Weather Service until 10 p.m. on Saturday. The town of Happy sustained damage from at least one tornado, and high winds and hail were also a factor in several locations throughout the region.
6. Applications are now being accepted for the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP). The PSGP is one of four Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA) grant programs that focus on transportation infrastructure security. Funding priorities for the grant include, among others, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) prevention; detection, response, and recovery equipment; Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) detection technologies; and active shooter training. The current deadline for application acceptance is May 14, 2021.
7. Severe weather is possible in several regions throughout the nation on Wednesday and Thursday. Large hail, strong winds and brief tornadoes are possible from the Midwest through the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday. On Thursday, the same threat moves to the Southeast, including the East Coast, with the threat impacting at least Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
A closed 500mb low over the TN Valley/right front entrance region of a 200mb jet streak, strong low level jet. The ingredients are coming together for a widespread severe weather threat on Thursday afternoon/evening. Limiting factor is instability. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/iGKpwXIJ43— Allan Huffman (@RaleighWx) March 15, 2021
8. Noise exposure while working places firefighters at an increased risk of injury. In its 6 Minutes for Safety, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) points to several impacts that noise has on wildland firefighters, including its ability to cause fatigue, headaches and distractions. According to NWCG, noise is also a factor in miscommunication, the failure to hear warnings and increased errors.
Working in noisy environments presents daily safety challenges to wildland #firefighters. Noise exposure can cause fatigue, headaches, distraction, and miscommunication. Always wear hearing protection. @6minutes4safety →https://t.co/pgkjKjk2sI pic.twitter.com/qKJ21w7sNU— NWCG (@NWCG) March 14, 2021