AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Record 11 Tornado Warnings Issued for NE Ohio

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 22, 2021: A record 11 tornado warnings were issued by the NWS for residents in Northeast Ohio on Thursday; Limerick Generating Station will become the first nuclear plant to fully digitalize its safety system; an exchange of components during routine maintenance at the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm resulted in three turbine blades and other items being dropped into the ocean; emergency managers are developing evacuation plans for a potential eruption of Mauna Loa; the NSA in Bethesda was locked down Thursday due to a bomb threat; the garbage collection system known as “Jenny” successfully hauled in 20,000 pounds of garbage from the Pacific Ocean; only select manufacturing facilities are operational after candy maker Ferrara was the victim of a ransomware attack on October 9; and CISA is hosting a webinar on October 26 entitled the Ransomware Threat to Emergency Communications.

1. A record number of tornado warnings were issued in Northeast Ohio on Thursday as severe weather swept across the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Cleveland issued a total of 11 tornado warnings, calling the severe weather a “sneaky, tricky event.” The NWS will send out two teams on Friday to survey reported damage, which will help them determine exactly how many tornadoes touched down in the area.

2. A cost-share award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will help one Pennsylvania nuclear power station become the first one to upgrade to a completely digital safety system. According to reports, the digitalization of the control room at the Limerick Generating Station will reduce costs, improve operations, and increase performance and safety by enabling automation, which will decrease system interruptions. The digitalization is projected to help extend the life of nuclear power plants across the United States, ensuring a stable supply of electricity that is emissions-free.

3. In an exchange of components at the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm located in the Irish Sea, blades, motors, grease pumps and other items were dropped into the ocean. The incident occurred during planned maintenance. Although no one was injured, a total of three turbine blades weighing 126 tons and a three-ton blade clamping tool were among the items that fell into the sea. One of the blades broke apart, causing debris to sit on the surface of the ocean. Officials noted that the debris will eventually reach shore.

4. Emergency managers on the Big Island of Hawaii are now developing evacuation plans for a potential eruption of the world’s most active volcano, Mauna Loa. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has stated that the volcano is not erupting at this timeor in the near future; however, it increased seismic activity slightly above normal background levels at the summit was observed for the week ending October 14. At least 84 small-magnitude , shallow-depth (less than five miles below sea level) earthquakes were recorded last week according to the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

5. A bomb threat Wednesday morning prompted a lockdown of the Naval Support Activity Bethesda, home of the Walter Reed Medical Center. An anonymous phone call at around 8:45 a.m. indicated a bomb threat at or near the building at 102 Wood Road, prompting a lockdown as K-9 units searched the buildings. The lockdown was lifted at about 1:30 p.m., although gates were initially opened for outbound traffic only as an investigation into the incident continued.

6. Dutch inventor Boyan Slat has successfully pulled 20,000 pounds of garbage from the Pacific Ocean. Slat has improved upon his original ocean garbage collection design with System 002, nicknamed “Jenny,” which had a very successful first trial. The improved system uses a U-shaped net pulled by two boats traveling at slow speeds, with intense camera monitoring to avoid catching any curious marine life. Slat noted that with 10 of the systems in place, half of the Pacific Garbage Patch could be cleaned in five years, with 90% of the garbage cleaned by 2040.

7. A major U.S. candy company was hit with ransomware, which halted production in its facilities. Hackers encrypted the systems at Ferrara, the candy company that makes SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Brach’s Candy Corn, Everlasting Gobstoppers and other candies, beginning on October 9.  The hackers demanded payment from the company in order to reveal the encryption key. The company revealed the hack this past Tuesday. In a statement on Wednesday, Ferrara Candy noted that it was only able to resume production in select manufacturing facilities.

8. According to information provided by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a ransomware attack occurs on average of every 14 seconds and if it’s successful, the attack cripples its target. The attacks disable operating systems, steal information, exploit businesses and individuals, and disrupt essential public services. To address the threat to public safety communications, the CISA is hosting a webinar that addresses the ransomware threat to emergency communications. The webinar is being held on Tuesday, October 26 at 1 p.m. It is open to anyone, and participants will need to sign in via the weblink provided and dial in for the audio.


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.

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