Archive: Month: July 2015


Posted on July 16th, 2015 in Avian Influenza, EDEN Newsletter

In This Issue

From the Chair

Dr. Mike Yoder formal photographAs we reach the mid-point of summer, it is time to register for the 2015 EDEN Annual Meeting, to be held October 6-9, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  This year’s meeting logo is “Enroute to the Next 20 Years,” a recognition of our efforts during the first 20 years and look at our vision for the next 20.

An exciting pre-conference tour is being planned by the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Management Center.  This tour promises an up-close and personal view of the issues facing border states.  Participation in this tour is limited, so register soon.

The planning committee has put together a great program with workshops, workgroup meetings, a report from NIFA and an update about the new EDEN Strategic Plan, a look at the opportunities EDEN has for collaboration with our 1984 Land Grant institutions, and more.

Following the Friday workshop, “Making EDEN Work for You,” those who are interested are invited to travel to Albuquerque, NM for the 2015 Balloon Fiesta.  This tour promises to provide a memorable ending to the week.

The EDEN Exercise Ad-Hock Committee has been busy this past year and while I don’t want to steal the thunder from their presentation at the annual meeting, their recent survey, measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of EDEN’s ability to disseminate information, provided impressive results.  To hear specifics, you will need to listen to Michael Gaffney’s (committee Co-Chair) presentation Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Since January, the EDEN Executive Committee has been planning for a September meeting with selected Extension Directors,   and Beverly Samuel, NIFA National Program Leader, Jane Schuchardt, Executive Director, ECOP/APLU, and Nick Place, EDEN’s representative to ECOP.  The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Extension Directors to provide input regarding the future direction of EDEN.  Input from this meeting will be included in the future strategic planning process.  We have never had this opportunity to bring the directors to the table for these discussions and look forward to a productive and informative meeting.

I hope to see everyone in Las Cruces in October.  Take a minute right now to register and reserve your hotel rooms! –Mike Yoder, EDEN Chair

HPAI Update

On July 7, 2015, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition held a public hearing on the impacts of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) on the U.S. poultry sector. The key witness, Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), started his testimony with a chilling statement: “Today, we are facing the largest animal health emergency in this country’s history. We are dealing with an unprecedented outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that is taking a heavy toll on the poultry industry.” Indeed, USDA has Commercial Broiler House with Birdsconfirmed HPAI in 21 states, which includes nine states where HPAI was identified in commercial poultry. Of the 232 total poultry premises with confirmed cases of HPAI, 211 are commercial facilities where 7.5 million turkeys and 42 million chickens and pullets have been depopulated. USDA has committed over $500 million – an amount more than half of APHIS’ yearly discretionary budget – in addressing this outbreak.

How did this devastating outbreak occur in the first place? According to USDA scientists, the HPAI H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways in 2014. Dr. Clifford reported that wild ducks and geese brought the disease first to the Pacific flyway, and later to the Central and Mississippi flyways. Initial detections in the United States were in wild birds and backyard flocks, and may have resulted from direct contact with sick migratory birds. USDA epidemiologists believe that wild birds were responsible for introducing HPAI into the environment, and from there it was spread into commercial poultry houses. Further investigation by USDA scientists showed that the virus was introduced into commercial poultry facilities from the environment or from farm-to-farm transmission on human sources such as boots or equipment. Dr. Clifford pointed out that APHIS cannot associate transmission of the disease with any single one of those factors, but it seems clear that lateral spread occurred when biosecurity measures that are sufficient in ordinary times were not sufficient in the face of such a large amount of virus in the environment.  While the results of USDA’s preliminary epidemiological investigation did not show a single source of transmission, it did emphasize the importance and need for improved biosecurity. Dr. Clifford also stressed that USDA is treating the potential threat of more infections in the fall with the utmost seriousness as it is very likely that wild birds will carry the virus with them when they begin migrating south in the fall.  When asked about the use of vaccines to prevent and control HPAI, Dr. Clifford said this is being studied but cannot be adopted until a suitable vaccine is found and trade implications are clarified with countries that import U.S. poultry products.

Poultry industry representatives also testified at the hearing and thanked USDA for its support while stating that indemnification guidelines and depopulation and disposal measures need to be improved. No new outbreaks have been reported since the last confirmed detection of HPAI in a layer flock in Iowa on June 17, 2015 and many affected farms are beginning to repopulate their flocks.

Article by Nathaniel Tablante – EDEN Delegate and University of Maryland Point of Contact

Webinars and Events

Upcoming

Archives

Featured Resources


Julyderecho

July 13, 2015 derecho radar image from NOAA.

Early this week, on July 13, a possible derecho, or at least what the National Weather Service is currently calling “a Derecho-like event,” raced across the middle of the country. It began in Minnesota and swept mostly southward through Wisconsin, Illinois, parts of Indiana and into Kentucky.

The Weather Service describes a derecho as “a widespread, long-lived storm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines or quasi-linear convective systems.”

The “bow echo” refers to the characteristic appearance of a linear storm on weather radar when that storm bows out due to high wind. Storms represented by bow echoes are not always derechos unless they last for a long time which is rarely the case. In fact, large derechos are relatively unusual. Generally there are only one or two a year in most of the country.

The Weather Service has an extensive derecho page.

Weather Underground

Weather Underground

Derechos can be extremely damaging. By definition a derecho must travel 240 miles and include wind gusts of at least 58mph along much of its length and several gusts of over 75mph. Many are much stronger. A derecho that crossed Illinois from northwest to southeast in the late 1990’s included winds measured at over 100mph at the Clinton nuclear power plant and caused extensive damage to a marina at the associated cooling lake.

Effects can be long lasting. On July 4th and 5th in 1999 a derecho crossed the Boundary Waters Canoe area in northern Minnesota/southern Ontario. It devastated a forest there. Wildfires in more recent years have been fueled by the debris from that storm.

Because of their length and the intensity of the straight line winds, derechos can be an extremely costly event. Casualties are rare, but do occur, usually caused by falling trees or other debris and occasionally by watercraft caught by the rapidly moving storms.


NOAA Archives

NOAA Archives

The July issue of Chicago Magazine serves as the inspiration for today’s post on killer heat. It features a recap, told in the words of residents, first responders, morgue workers and politicians of the July 1995 heatwave in the City of Chicago…twenty years ago next week. I recommend it.

Heat remains consistently the deadliest natural disaster in most years in the United States. The National Weather Service estimates that about 175 people die of heat related causes during an average year. Some years are much worse. The official total of dead attributed to the 1995 event in Chicago stands at 739. Officials argued about which deaths belonged in the count at the time and continue to do so today, but in any event the extent of the disaster cannot be denied.

On Wednesday, July 12, 1995, the temperature in Chicago reached 95-degrees. Certainly not uncommon. But on Thursday the 13th, the high was 104 at O’Hare Airport and 106 at the more urban Midway Airport. To compound the stress, the dewpoint at times exceeded 80-degrees which is rare. That would make the heat index between 120 and 130-degrees.

chi-95heatbody20120706072407

Chicago Tribune

By Friday, July 14, with a high of 102, paramedics and police officers knew there was a major problem. The number of fatalities rose to the point that the system was overwhelmed. Refrigerated trucks were brought to the morgue and mortuary students worked non-stop for two days assisting the morgue staff in handling the bodies of victims.

 

chi-95heattruck20120706072404

Chicago Tribune

The urban heat island effect was in full operation. Buildings and pavement held the heat at night, especially in the humid air so there was no relief. Many of the victims were elderly, young and those with existing medical issues. The situation was especially dire in poorer neighborhoods where residents either had no fans or air conditioners or were reluctant to use them given the cost of electricity. In addition, some victims were fearful for their safety and kept windows closed and locked. One of the city’s major hospitals lacked air conditioning in most of the building even in 1995! Surgical staffs were rotated frequently.

Since the effects of extreme heat tend to be cumulative, people continued to succumb for days after the heat began to subside on Saturday when the high was “only” 98.

heat_1The Chicago Heatwave of 1995 was a well-documented event, but similar heatwaves are common. Just this past week much of Western Europe had unusually high temperatures and in June perhaps as many as 1,500 people died of the heat in Pakistan. In May of 2015, 2,500 people died in a heatwave in India.

 

The National Weather Service has a number of safety tips, including:
Avoid the Heat. Stay indoors and in air conditioning as much as possible
Check on neighbors and the elderly.
Wear loose fitting clothing. Light colors reflect heat and sun.
Drink plenty of water and natural juices. The body loses water faster than it can absorb it. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Avoid large meals. Eat smaller portions and more frequently.
NEVER leave children or pets in a vehicle even for a few minutes.

In addition, the weather service has a heatwave brochure available for download.


The Sleepy Hollow fire near the north-central Washington State city of Wenatchee started in the afternoon of June 28, 2015. The cause is unknown but natural causes have been ruled out, leaving intentional or accidental human-origin causes to blame. Unseasonably high temperatures, early drought conditions, and high fuel loads have elevated fire risk in the area much earlier in the summer than normal. The fire started outside the city, but wind drove it into residential areas of this city of 33,000. Hundreds of residents were evacuated. It has burned 2950 acres and has destroyed 29 primary residences. Embers blew into the commercial business district and subsequent fires destroyed four businesses; some were large agricultural processing or storage warehouses, raising concerns about hazardous material involvement. Those areas have been secured and hazardous materials contained.

The Chelan WA County Commissioners have issued an emergency declaration of the area as a high danger area, banning all outdoor burning and the use of fireworks. Some roads are restricted to local resident and emergency use only. The evacuation center has been moved from a high school to a church.  The BNSF rail line (a major NW transportation corridor) was closed but has been re-opened.

The number of firefighting personnel involved with this fire is 336; they are primarily volunteers. They have incurred a few injuries including heat exhaustion; no injuries to the public have been reported. With limited numbers of firefighters available, four days of firefighting already, and new fires reported in the area, firefighting personnel is stretched to the limit. With the Sleepy Hollow fire 47% contained as of the evening of June 30 evening, some are being re-deployed to other emerging fire situations.

The majority of efforts have switched from response to recovery, assisting those who have lost their homes and businesses. A local footwear business is offering free shoes to all fire victims. A fruit packing business offered its facilities to a competitor whose fruit packing facility was destroyed, thereby helping the business continue operating during fruit harvest season. These responses demonstrate that even during periods of drought and wildfires, human hearts can contain bottomless wellsprings of compassion and hope.

–Submitted by Susan Kerr, WA State EDEN Delegate

 


-- NOAA

— NOAA

For the past several days the media has been showing images of a smoke plume reaching from wildfires in Saskatchewan  across the Midwest and farther south.   From the ground the smoke appears as a haze high in the sky and may filter the sun.   Sunrises and sunsets in the areas where there is smoke in the atmosphere have been more colorful than usual.

While such events occur fairly frequently, this one has garnered additional attention because of the vast area that is reporting at least some smoke.  It is expected the area will shift to the east as the weather pattern changes over the holiday weekend.

IMG_1097Here’s what the sky looked like in central Illinois at about 11AM on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.  The darker parts of the image are clouds, put the sun is seen filtered in part by the smokey haze.

At the current time most of the smoke is high in the atmosphere and is not likely to be able to be smelled nor is it a particular threat to those with breathing difficulties.   However, the situation is different in parts of Alaska where a Dense Smoke Advisory has been issued near some wildfires. There people have been cautioned not only about limited visibility but the possibility of health impacts.

Nearly all of the wildfires have been caused by lightning.

As we approach the July 4th holiday, please keep those fireworks under control and don’t contribute to any new wildfires.