Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 7, 2021: Temperatures reach into the mid-nineties across Nordic countries; Colorado’s I-70 faces multiple and repeated closures from mudslides originating from the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar; the NWS has issued Red Flag Warnings for western Washington and northern Idaho for Wednesday; the Ever Given is departing the Suez Canal after a settlement was reached; Tropical Storm Elsa is predicted to make landfall along the northwestern Florida panhandle on Wednesday; residents across multiple northeast and mid-Atlantic states suffered damage and lost power as storms rolled through on Tuesday; a tanker fire on I-75 in Bradley County disrupted traffic flow in both directions; and wildfires damaged rail lines in western Canada, which has delayed rail shipments and caused vessel delays in the Port of Vancouver.
- Finland recorded its hottest day since 1914 on Sunday, when the temperature hit 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit in Kevo, Lapland. It is the hottest temperature ever recorded in June for the country, but was just shy of breaking Finland’s all-time record high of 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Several other Nordic countries also reached record-high temperatures in June, with Banak, Norway, recording 93.7 degrees Fahrenheit–a temperature that reportedly has never been seen above 70 degrees North in Europe.
- I-70 in Colorado is facing repeated closures from mudslides, many of which are occurring in the Glenwood Canyon area in Colorado. Last summer, the Grizzly Creek Fire began on August 10 near Glenwood Springs and burned a total of 32,631 in the White River National Forest. The fire burned throughout much of Glenwood Canyon before its full containment was announced on December 18. The burn scar covers a large swath of terrain on either side of I-70, and continued heavy rainfall on the loose and unstable burn scar soils is likely to continue producing mudslides.
- The National Weather Service issued Red Flag Warnings for eastern Washington and northern Idaho until 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Dry thunderstorms, strong afternoon winds and low relative humidity are forecast for the region, which prompted the warnings. Combined with wind gusts, the weather conditions are likely to cause rapid fire ignition and spread, and fire danger is expected to remain high over the coming days.
- The Ever Given is departing the Suez Canal after being detained for several months by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of Egypt. The ship’s crew lost control on March 23 and ran the ship aground, completely blocking the Suez Canal for six days. The blockage disrupted global shipping and supply chains and stranded some 400 ships on either side of the canal during the blockage. The SCA and the ship’s owner, Shoei Kinsen, finally reached an undisclosed settlement on July 4, clearing the ship to leave the Suez Canal.
- Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast along the northwestern Florida peninsula today. Wind speeds are around 65 mph, with heavy rainfall forecast for the impacted areas. Tornado watches have been issued for portions of Florida and Georgia ahead of the approaching storm.
- Strong storms rolled through the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast, cutting power to tens of thousands of residents in multiple states. The storms produced heavy rainfall and winds of up to 60 mph, which downed trees and power lines. Power companies in New Jersey and Connecticut stated they are working hard to restore power to all their customers ahead of potential impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa, which is forecast for later this week.
- Traffic flow on I-75 North and South, a major supply chain route, was severely disrupted Tuesday evening by a tanker truck fire in Bradley County, Tennessee. Three Cleveland Fire Department companies responded to a tractor-trailer that burst into flames after hitting a tree on I-75 southbound. The driver was treated for minor injuries, and the Tennessee State Highway Patrol is currently investigating the cause of the accident.
- At least 180 wildfires that began amid the recent intense heat wave continue to rage in western Canada. The wildfires have also damaged railroad tracks, including those of two major lines, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National (CN). CN suffered more extensive damage when a wildfire burned the town of Lytton, BC, and destroyed one of their train bridges located nearby the town. The two rail line damages disrupted goods and supply shipments as it idled 4,000 rail cars and caused vessel delays in the Port of Vancouver.
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