Category Archives: weather

EPA-Preparedness and Response

General Information for Disaster Preparedness and Response

ALWAYS CALL 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help.

This page lists general information for homeowners, communities, schools, and facilities, that can apply to many different disaster situations. Much of this information is repeated on pages about specific types of natural events or disasters. More about how EPA responds to natural disasters.

On this page:

General:

Individuals, Homeowners:

Communities, Schools, Facilities:


General:

What You Can Do

Planning – Preparing for natural disasters can greatly reduce the risks to health and the environment. Hurricanes or floods can contaminate drinking water sources. Forest fires or volcanoes harm air quality. Tornadoes or earthquakes, by damaging factories or storage facilities, can release contaminants where people live or into the environment.

  • Individuals and homeowners can plan ahead to protect health for themselves and family members.
  • Communities, schools, and businesses can plan ahead to reduce risks and possible costs of storm-related spills or cleanup.
  • Learn about making an emergency plan, from Ready.gov

Recovery – Understanding risks will help speed recovery efforts and help keep problems from becoming worse. Improper use of portable generators or heating devices can release deadly carbon monoxide to indoor air. Ice-melting agents used improperly can pollute waterways. Large amounts of debris can present serious disposal problems for state and local communities. Owners or operators of damaged facilities may be responsible for reporting spills.

  • Individuals and homeowners can learn more about what, and what not, to do to protect health of themselves and family.
  • Communities, schools, and businesses can learn more about address large-scale risks and be aware of any legal requirements they may have under applicable regulations.

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Report suspected spills, contamination, or possible violations.

  • To report oil, chemical, or hazardous substance spills, call the National Response Center 800-424-8802.
  • Report a suspected environmental violation online. When you don’t have Internet access, call the US EPA office for your state.
  • For pesticide poisoning, call 911 if the person is unconscious, has trouble breathing, or has convulsions. Otherwise, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Generator Safety

People get sick or die each year from carbon monoxide or “CO” poisoning due to unsafe use of generators.

Know how to get emergency alerts and messages before you need them:

  • FEMA Wireless Emergency Alerts – FEMA works with US cell phone carriers to send free emergency texts to cell phones (that can get text messages) within range. You don’t have to sign up to receive the messages.
  • Emergency Alert System – is a public warning system that uses existing TV, radio, cable, and other systems to send critical messages to the general public. Messages are local or national, depending on the situation.
  • NOAA Weather Radio – is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Individuals, Homeowners:

Returning home: Dealing with Debris and Damaged Buildings

Drinking water recovery

Home wastewater

  • What do I do with my home septic system after a flood? Do not drink your well water until it is tested and safe. Do not use (flush) the sewage system until water in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level around the house. If you have a small business and your septic system has received chemicals, take extra precautions to prevent contact with water or inhaling fumes. Proper clean-up depends on the kinds of chemicals in the wastewater.

Limit contact with flood water

Flood water may have high levels of raw sewage or other hazardous substances. Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomfort. Anyone experiencing these and any other problems should immediately seek medical attention.

Mold

Eliminate standing water where mosquitos can breed

Mosquitos can sharply increase after a flood, due to the sudden availability of standing water which they require for breeding — even very small amounts of water. As flood waters recede be sure to drain, overturn, or empty areas — no matter how small — to reduce mosquito breeding areas and help reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

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Communities, Schools, Facilities:

Facility wastewater – Communities or facilities

Disaster debris

Communities should plan ahead to handle exceptionally large amounts of disaster debris from damaged or destroyed buildings, supplies, trees or other green waste, carcasses, or other materials. Disposal problems can result from large amounts of debris but also from hazardous or toxic substances in the debris that can contaminate air, water, land, and food if not handled properly. Burning large amounts of debris to reduce volume may not be an option. More information on disaster debris.

Hazardous waste and homeland security

Pesticides, chemical and oil spills, hazardous waste

  • Call the National Response Center 800-424-8802 (24 hours a day every day). For those without 800 access, please call 202-267-2675.
  • Industries and businesses that encounter spills or discharges in the aftermath should contact the National Response Center immediately. You or your organization may have legal requirements for reporting or for taking other actions, depending on the spill.
  • National Pesticide Information Center: 1-800-858-7378. Pesticide contacts
  • How to Report Spills and Environmental Violations

Renovation and rebuilding

Lead-safe work: By law, contractors need to use lead-safe work practices on emergency renovations on homes or buildings built before 1978. Activities such as sanding, cutting, and demolition can create lead-based paint hazards. Lead-contaminated dust is harmful to adults, particularly pregnant women, and children.

  • Important information about lead-safe clean-up and renovation

Asbestos: Anyone working on demolition, removal, and cleanup of building debris needs be aware of any asbestos and to handle asbestos materials properly. People exposed to asbestos dust can develop serious lung health problems including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although the use of asbestos has dramatically decreased in recent years, it is still found in many residential and commercial buildings and can pose a serious health risk.

Underground Storage Tanks

During a flood, underground storage tank (UST) systems may become displaced or damaged and release their
contents into the environment, causing soil, surface water, and groundwater contamination.

Fuel Waivers

EPA works with the Department of Energy to address fuel supply disruptions caused by disasters or emergencies, by issuing fuel waivers for certain fuel standards, in affected areas.

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https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/general-information-disaster-preparedness-and-response

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Tornado Strikes Tulsa

Tornado Strikes Tulsa, Causing Dozens of Injuries and Damage

An uncommon August tornado struck Tulsa early Sunday, damaging buildings, toppling utility poles and injuring around 30 people, authorities said.

No deaths were reported when the tornado struck at around 1:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. ET) The National Weather Service said it confirmed damage from an EF-2 tornado in the central part of the city.

 Tornado rips through Tulsa shopping district, injures at least 30 2:08

Eight people were hospitalized after a TGI Fridays restaurant collapsed, trapping people inside.

“It completely collapsed right on top of everybody so it’s, it’s lucky that people came out with their lives,” restaurant manager Zane McCollough said.

More than 14,000 people in the Tulsa area lost power at one point due to the tornado and severe storms, utility provider Public Service Company of Oklahoma said. Around 125 utility poles were broken or damaged.

The city’s warning sirens did not sound before the tornado struck. Tulsa Area Emergency Management Director Roger Jolliff described it as a fast-moving storm that left little time for warning.

“To have warned we would have been warning after the fact, which would have not been the right thing to do,” Jolliff said.

The Tulsa Fire Department said 13 people were transported to hospitals, including a firefighter who was burned in a house fire. A spokesperson for St. Francis Hospital said the medical center received 30 patients with minor injuries like lacerations, and most had been released by Sunday afternoon.

National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Jankowski told the Associated Press that while tornadoes can strike any time, they are generally associated with the spring months.

“I wouldn’t say outrageously rare, but it is uncommon,” to see an August tornado, Jankowski said.

Crews were clearing streets Sunday and Tulsa Police Sgt. Shane Tuell warned people to stay out of damaged areas if possible.

An uncommon August tornado struck Tulsa early Sunday, damaging buildings, toppling utility poles and injuring around 30 people, authorities said.

No deaths were reported when the tornado struck at around 1:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. ET) The National Weather Service said it confirmed damage from an EF-2 tornado in the central part of the city.

 

Image: A man stands near a damaged building after a storm moved through the area in Tulsa, Oklahoma Aug. 6, 2017. A possible tornado struck near midtown Tulsa and causing power outages and roof damage to businesses.
A man stands near a damaged building after a storm moved through the area in Tulsa, Oklahoma Aug. 6, 2017. Tom Gilbert / AP

He said that after the deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri in 2011, a study showed that some residents did not initially heed warning sirens because of what was perceived as past false alarms, and emergency managers are reluctant to sound sirens too often.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2011 did find that many residents interviewed after that deadly tornado said the first siren did not immediately trigger concern because of what was perceived as past false alarms.

The E-5 Joplin tornado that struck on May 22, 2011, killed 159 people and injured more than 1,000 others. It was the seventh-deadliest tornado in U.S. history.

Image: A man stands outside a Fridays restaurant after a storm moved through the area in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Aug. 6, 2017. A possible tornado struck near midtown Tulsa and causing power outages and roof damage to businesses.
A man stands outside a Fridays restaurant after a storm moved through the area in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Aug. 6, 2017. Tom Gilbert / AP

The Tulsa Fire Department said 13 people were transported to hospitals, including a firefighter who was burned in a house fire. A spokesperson for St. Francis Hospital said the medical center received 30 patients with minor injuries like lacerations, and most had been released by Sunday afternoon.

National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Jankowski told the Associated Press that while tornadoes can strike any time, they are generally associated with the spring months.

“I wouldn’t say outrageously rare, but it is uncommon,” to see an August tornado, Jankowski said.

Crews were clearing streets Sunday and Tulsa Police Sgt. Shane Tuell warned people to stay out of damaged areas if possible.

Play

 Tornado Destroys Businesses, Injures Dozens in Tulsa, Oklahoma

“Right now we’re still identifying dangerous areas of power lines, gas leaks that are in the area, and other debris that can still cause severe injury to individuals,” he said.

Elliott Wilson, franchise owner of the bed and mattress store Mattress Firm, assessed the damage to his store Sunday.

“There’s definitely going have to be some tile and carpet repaired,” Wilson said. “Yeah, it’s going to keep us down for a little bit.”

US Tornadoes in August

Here’s where tornadoes typically form in August across the United States

AUG 17, 2015

These maps break down August tornadoes based on where they begin.

By the time we hit August, there’s no denying that the peak of the tornado yearis getting further and further behind us. However, August does rank higher than the six months that follow it when it comes to averages and overall numbers.

It’s actually quite a bit like July except that numbers are lower overall. The northern tier of the U.S. remains the focus of organized activity for the most part. We also often see heightened activity across parts of Florida, and Texas returns to the game after being knocked back a bit in July.

Where tornadoes form:JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

The average for August tornadoes is right around 80. This is a continuation of the decline that happens coming out of spring and early summer.

That trend will keep happening into and through the cold season, with the possible exception of a “second season” bump in October or November. Even with that bump, the numbers are generally lower than in August despite the fact that there might be a better chance of an outbreak again during that time of year.

Much like July, one reason for the lower numbers in August is simply that the jet stream is often displaced well to the north, given that we’re still near the heart of summer in the United States. Storms are also a little less frequent across the country overall compared to July, so there are fewer of the “random” incidents of tornadic activity. That said, it is a warm and humid month for much of the nation, so tornadoes can happen just about anywhere.

The grid map up top and most of the maps below don’t necessarily show major patterns for August tornadoes. As with the rest of summer, the front range of Colorado tends to be a favored spot for tornado activity. As does parts of the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Florida and Texas are rather lit up on the maps as well. Texas, partly because it’s huge. Florida, partly due to air mass tornadoes and waterspouts moving ashore, plus increased offs of tropical storm activity as we get through the month.

Only the District of Columbia has not seen a tornado touchdown in August across the contiguous United States.

Generally, August will tend to favor at least transient high pressure pushing through the upper South and toward the mid-Atlantic, which helps stymie tornado activity in places that typically see plenty like Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky as well as immediate surrounds.

These states lead the way for tornado touchdowns in August: Texas (370); Florida (298); North Dakota (235); Colorado (201); Minnesota (192).

Related:August tornado averages by state (SPC)

As noted up top, the area of focus on a smaller scale — such as counties below — is actually fairly similar to July. The Front range, arcing up into the northern Plains, then across parts of the upper Midwest are prime zones. The desert southwest continues to be lit up a bit as monsoon persists in that region as well. There’s also maybe a hint of cold fronts beginning to progress further south and east in the Plains as well with the approach of fall.

 

While often not in the news due to short duration and way more than often weakness, Florida remains a hotspot for tornadoes, as with July. The state sees frequent air mass storm type tornadoes that are often very short lived. There is also increased likelihood of tropical system induced tornadoes as we head toward peak hurricane season.

These counties have seen the most tornado touchdowns in August: Weld, CO (31); Palm Beach, FL (25); Harris, TX (23); Sangamon, IL (22); Brevard, FL (21).

Related: The month of August by the numbers | Significant tornadoes in August

For the second month in a row, Grand Forks, ND leads the list when it comes to tornado touchdowns within NWS office boundary areas.

June, July and August all tend to favor offices well on the way to Canada. Otherwise, the map shows some of the detail the finer maps above do. There’s a paritcularly large splotch of red across the northern Plains and upper Midwest. South Florida is notably red as well.

These NWS offices that have dealt with the most touchdowns: Grand Forks, ND – FGF (164); Bismarck, ND – BIS (140); Boulder, CO – BOU (133); Twin Cities, MN – MPX (106); Tampa Bay, FL – TBW (95).

Data (1950-2014): States | Counties | NWS (.csv files)

http://www.ustornadoes.com/2015/08/17/heres-where-tornadoes-typically-form-in-august-across-the-united-states/

EF1 Tornado in Crawford County

Confirmed in Uniontown and North of Cedarville.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1339656609475806&substory_index=0&id=878737445567727

 

Impacted by Floods?

We have had several citizens contact us about actions to be taken by residents if their homes are impacted by floods or other severe weather events. Click the link below to learn more about the recovery process. Again, our website is meant to be a source of information. Please be safe out there during this period of severe weather!http://www.adem.arkansas.gov/aem/recovery/recovery-process/

 

adem.arkansasa.gov

Governor Asa Hutchinson has declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas in response to the severe storms and flooding throughout the state.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management officials are receiving all of the requests from the counties and are responding on order of the Governor.

“Our prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in the heavy rain and storms last night. I also thank our first responders who have worked tirelessly to provide assistance,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This afternoon I declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas to ensure that we have in place available resources to assist counties affected by last night’s storms. ADEM continues to coordinate with counties on damage assessments.”

 

https://www.facebook.com/ARemergencies/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf