The National Fire Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for the Santa Monica Mountains (and other areas) beginning this morning at 4:00 am and going through tomorrow, Wednesday, November 6 at 3:00 pm. Strong surface high pressure building into the great basin tonight will set the stage for a moderate Santa Ana wind event across the area. The strongest Northeast winds will occur across Ventura & Los Angeles counties, with the winds developing across the mountains then filtering down to the coastal and valley areas. The winds will peak in strength this morning then slowly diminish this afternoon as the offshore winds develop. Relative humidity will drop overnight and bottom out in the low teens and single digits on today. Given the combination of gusty winds & low relative humidity, critical fire weather conditions are expected across all coastal areas of Los Angeles County.
Red Flag warnings issued by the National Weather Service identify time periods when conditions are ideal for wildfires. During Red Flag warnings it is especially important to:
- Report any signs of smoke immediately to emergency responders. If on the Malibu campus call Public Safety at (310) 506-4441. At all other locations report smoke by calling 911.
- Use caution when disposing of cigarettes and ensure that they are completely extinguished.
- Minimize any use of open flame in outdoor settings.
Pepperdine Public Safety is monitoring the situation and is prepared to respond to potential wildfires. Additional information regarding Red Flag warnings and Pepperdine’s wildfire response plans is available on the University’s Emergency Information Page, http://emergency.pepperdine.edu, and in the Emergency Preparedness Guide found in WaveNet beginning on page 14.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports that “All the available information continues to indicate Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories, and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity,” despite the reports of low concentrations of radioactive particles heading eastward from Japan.
On April 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that there are no radiation related health risks to individuals outside of Japan. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control remains confident that there will be no serious health consequences here in the U.S.
The U.S. continues to monitor the situation through Radnet, a system of 100 radiation monitors overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pepperdine University officials are also following developments for any changes. Additional information is available from the resources below:
- The California Department of Public Health has opened a phone hotline to address concerns regarding local radiation exposure. The hotline is (916) 341-3947.
- The Centers for Disease Control has also opened a line for those with questions (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4696. Additional information is available on their web site http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/.
- The World Health Organization www.who.int
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission http://www.nrc.gov/
- The Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/radiation/
- Southern California Air Quality Management District http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/2011/Radiationmonitoring.htm
- EPA link to common sources of radiation exposure in everyday life (please scroll to the bottom of the page) http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/perspective.html
State and federal health officials do not believe that radiation from Japan will create a harmful health threat to the U.S. west coast. Nevertheless, Pepperdine University officials are closely monitoring the situation for any changes. The U.S. Department of Energy has activated the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center to determine how the radiation would disperse in the atmosphere from Fukushima, and we are following that progress. At this time there are no indications of a risk to the U.S. west coast. Pepperdine remains poised and prepared to respond to various types of emergencies; we maintain food, water, medical, and other supplies for use in an emergency, and our staff practices emergency response. We communicate widely to our student community so that all should know how and where to get instructions during emergencies. Please see our emergency webpage at emergency.pepperdine.edu for further information.