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 DHS&EM 15 January 2008 Situation Report 08-015Postmark
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From:Tuesday, January 15, 2008 12:06 PM -0900
Subject:DHS&EM 15 January 2008 Situation Report 08-015 
To:
Attachments:
STATE OF ALASKA
DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY
AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

SITUATION REPORT 08-015 (as of 11:00 AM, January 15, 2008)

Homeland Security Advisory System – National Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Homeland Security Advisory System – Alaska Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Maritime Security (MARSEC) Level – Level I – Low.
Military installations in Alaska are at FPCON A.
State of Alaska Cyber Security Alert Level: Guarded
World Health Organization Pandemic Phase - Phase 3: No or very limited human-to-human transmission (An Influenza Pandemic situation report, which contains an explanation of the WHO Pandemic Phases, is attached to this situation report and updated every Tuesday)

Threat Level Changes
No change.

State of Alaska Situation
(Updates to this section from previous Situation Report are in Italics)

Rural Alaska Fuel Shortages
The SECC continues to work with communities in rural Alaska that are facing fuel shortages and/or power generation problems.  The SECC is working with local, state and federal agencies and other organizations to ensure that the situation in these communities does not reach the point of becoming a disaster emergency.
The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued the following:

Blizzard Warning
- Western Prince William Sound including Whittier, Seward, Girdwood and Moose Pass.  The blizzard warning is now in effect until 1 pm this afternoon for Portage Valley.  Moderate snow and strong and gusty east winds to 35 mph will produce blowing snow which will lower visibilities to 1/4 mile or less through Portage Valley until early this afternoon. Conditions will improve as winds diminish early this afternoon.

- Kuskokwim Delta including Bethel, Hooper Bay and Nunivak Island.  Blizzard warning remains in effect until 3 pm today.  Winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts of 50 to 65 mph will combine with snowfall to reduce visibilities below one quarter mile through this afternoon. The strongest winds will be west of bethel. Winds and snow will diminish by mid-afternoon today as the weather front moves north of the area.

A blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to white-out conditions making travel extremely dangerous. All travel and outdoor activity is strongly discouraged.

The National Weather Service in Fairbanks has issued the following:

Winter Storm Warning
- Lower Koyukuk And Middle Yukon Valleys including Galena, Nulato, Huslia, Kaltag, Ruby and Koyukuk.  Winter storm warning remain in effect until 6 am Wednesday.   Snow accumulations of up to 8 inches are expected in the Nulato Hills and nearby areas through tonight.

A winter storm warning means significant winter weather hazards are expected.  This will make travel and outdoor activity very hazardous.

Blizzard Warning
- St Lawrence Island And Bering Strait Coast including Gambell, Savoonga, Brevig Mission, Teller, Wales and Diomede.  Blizzard warning now in effect until 6 am Wednesday.

Northeast winds 35 to 45 mph with occasional blizzard conditions are expected to continue over St Lawrence Island through midnight tonight.

Northeast winds 35 to 45 mph with occasional blizzard conditions will continue over the Bering Strait Coast tonight.  Winds are expected to diminish Wednesday.  Wind chill to 55 below moderate this afternoon and evening.

Wind Chill Warning
- Western Arctic Coast including Wainwright, Atqasuk, Point Lay and Cape Lisburne.  Wind chill warning remains in effect from 6 am this morning to 6 pm this afternoon.  East to northeast winds will increase to 15 to 20 mph this morning and continue through the afternoon. The increased winds combined with temperatures from 30 to 40 below zero will result in wind chills to 60 below zero.

- Northern Arctic Coast including Barrow, Alaktak, Pitt Point and Nulavik.  Wind chill warning remains in effect from 6 am this morning to 6 pm this afternoon.  East to northeast winds will increase to 15 to 20 mph this morning and continue through the afternoon. The increased winds combined with temperatures from 30 to 40 below zero will result in wind chills to 60 below zero.

- Central Beaufort Sea Coast including Nuiqsut, Prudhoe Bay, Alpine, Deadhorse and Kuparuk.  Wind chill warning remains in effect from noon today to 9 pm this evening.  East to northeast winds will increase to 15 to 20 mph this afternoon. The increased winds combined with temperatures from 30 to 45 below zero will result in wind chills to 70 below zero.

- Northwestern Brooks Range including Singiluk and Umiat.  Wind chill warning remains in effect from 6 am this morning to 6 pm this afternoon.  East to northeast winds will increase to 15 to 20 mph this morning and continue through the afternoon. The increased winds combined with temperatures from 30 to 45 below zero will result in wind chills to 70 below zero.

A wind chill warning means that dangerously low wind chills with sustained wind speeds of 15 mph or more are occurring or expected. If you must be outdoors, be careful to cover exposed
skin to prevent frostbite.

Current weather warnings and watches for Alaska can be found at the following National Weather Service web site:  http://www.arh.noaa.gov/

DOT&PF Road Information:  can be found at http://511.Alaska.gov/ or by calling 511.

Homeland Security

Alaska
Sunspot Is Harbinger Of New Solar Cycle, Increasing Risk For Electrical Systems. A new 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity, bringing with it increased risks for power grids, critical military, civilian and airline communications, GPS signals and even cell phones and ATM transactions, showed signs it was on its way when the cycle’s first sunspot appeared in the sun’s Northern Hemisphere, NOAA scientists said. “This sunspot is like the first robin of spring,” said solar physicist Douglas Biesecker of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. “In this case, it’s an early omen of solar storms that will gradually increase over the next few years.” A sunspot is an area of highly organized magnetic activity on the surface of the sun. The new 11-year cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, is expected to build gradually, with the number of sunspots and solar storms reaching a maximum by 2011 or 2012, though devastating storms can occur at any time.
During a solar storm, highly charged material ejected from the sun may head toward Earth, where it can bring down power grids, disrupt critical communications, and threaten astronauts with harmful radiation. Storms can also knock out commercial communications satellites and swamp Global Positioning System signals. Routine activities such as talking on a cell phone or getting money from an ATM machine could suddenly halt over a large part of the globe. “Our growing dependence on highly sophisticated, space-based technologies means we are far more vulnerable to space weather today than in the past,” said Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. The new sunspot, identified as #10,981, is the latest visible spot to appear since NOAA began numbering them on January 5, 1972.  Source: CPM Group, January 8, 2008, http://www.contingencyplanning.com/articles/57214/

National
Bomb threat sidetracks Giuliani's Florida tax speech. Republican Rudy Giuliani's speech on taxes got sidetracked Wednesday after a bomb threat forced organizers to move to another location.  The former New York mayor planned to address a town hall meeting with 200 Harris Corp., employees, and Giuliani supporters.  The event was scuttled when six of the company's buildings were evacuated.  Instead, Giuliani began his speech an hour later in a nearby airport hanger, where campaign workers handed out water to supporters waiting in the sun as bomb sniffing dogs checked reporters' equipment and airport security workers screened attendees.  Source: Associated Press, 01/09/2008, http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FL_GIULIANI_FLORIDA _FLOL-?SITE=FLTAL&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Complaint of worms in baby food prompts halt of sales. A family’s complaint that they found worms in jarred baby food has prompted the Target store in San Ramon, California, to empty its shelves of the Gerber baby food flavor. Officials at Target and Gerber are working together to determine when, where and how jars of Gerber baby food purchased at a San Ramon Target store may have become contaminated with insects, a Target spokesman said. As a precaution, the San Ramon store on Thursday pulled from its store shelves all jars of the sweet potato and turkey baby food blend in question, said a Target public relations officer.  Source: January 10, Contra Costa Times – http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_7935473?ncli ck_check=1

Pacific Rim
Cyber war declared? Just when it seemed that cyberspace was safe again, there is reason to believe that a new cyber army is waging war. In 2005 the Pentagon logged over 79,000 intrusion attempts into their network. From this about 1,300 were successful, including the penetration of computers linked to the Army's 101st and 82nd air force and 4th infantry divisions. The attacks aren't directed at just one government agency either. In August and September of the same year, Chinese hackers penetrated US State Department computers in several countries. As a result, hundreds of computers had to be replaced or taken offline for months, to make the necessary provisions. Jim Melnick, a retired Pentagon computer network analyst, told Time magazine that the Chinese military holds hacking competitions to identify and recruit talented members for a "cyber army." Chinese military documents and generals' speeches contain elements that support this claim. Namely, China has expressed its ambition to extend its efforts to cripple an enemy's "financial, military and communications capabilities early in a conflict." A study conducted by the Pentagon has found that China's military regards offensive computer operations as critical in the first stages of war. In fact, cyber attacks by China are said to be so frequent and aggressive that President George W. Bush has raised the subject with Chinese Communist leader Hu Jintao when they met at the Apec summit in Sydney, Australia.  Source: http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-1-13/63994.html
        
International
New Taliban Leader: More Dangerous Than Bin Laden? The newly appointed leader of the Taliban in Pakistan is being called more dangerous than Osama bin Laden by analysts there.  His movement was created last month when 26 Pakistani militant groups joined forces to fight for an Islamic regime there, tribal sources say.  Baitullah Meshud, also known as the emir of South Waziristan, is described by Pakistani authorities as a brutal but able leader who commands thousands of followers.  Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blames him for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, as well as a spate of recent attacks here that have left more than 400 dead.  NATO authorities in Afghanistan have offered a $50,000 reward for his capture.   Source: ABC News, 01/09/2008, http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2008/01/new-taliban-lea.html 

Spain captures 'airport bombers’. The Spanish government says two men arrested in the Basque Country are suspected of carrying out the deadly 2006 Madrid airport bombing.  The blast in a car park killed two Ecuadoreans and wrecked peace talks with the Basque separatist group Eta.  Martin Sarasola and Igor Portu were arrested on Sunday.  "These are the people who caused the explosion which killed two people in Terminal Four," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said.  Mr. Portu was hospitalised with a broken rib and punctured lung after police said he had resisted arrest.  Another suspected Eta member still on the run is also accused of involvement in the 30 December 2006 attack.  The deaths of the Ecuadorean migrants at the Barajas airport multi-storey car park were the first attributed to Eta in more than three years.  Source: BBC News, 01/09/2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7178939.stm

Teenager derailed trams with home-made device: police. Police said they had arrested a Polish teenager Wednesday after he allegedly used a homemade device to derail city trams in Lodz, central Poland.  Officers suspected the 14-year-old of having used the infra-red, remote-control device to switch tram tracks at street junctions from a distance, in one incident slightly injuring 12 commuters.  "Questioned by police in the presence of a psychologist, the teenager testified he switched tram tracks three times, once causing a tram to jump the tracks," said the statement posted on a police website.  A search at the suspect's home turned up the device he had used to switch tram tracks.  Officers suspected he could be responsible for several other recent tram derailments in Lodz, said the statement.  Source: Agence France-Press, 01/09/2008, http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080109/od_afp/poland accidentoffbeat_080109205446&printer=1;_ylt=AhWQDo1YgZSE_Nv3wMWePoGhOrgF

The Next Situation Report: will be published as of 11:00 AM, January 16, 2008. A significant change in the situation or the threat level will prompt an interim report. Please direct questions regarding this report to the SECC at 907-428-7100 or secc@ak-prepared.com.

How to reach the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Phone the State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) by dialing (907) 428-7100 or 1-800-478-2337, 24 hours per day.  Information on emergency topics is available on the Division's web site at http://www.ak-prepared.com.  Homeland Security information may be found at http://www.ak-prepared.com/homelandsecurity/

How to reach the Division of Administration – State Cyber Security Program:  If you have questions you may contact Darrell Davis, State Computer Security Officer darrel.davis@Alaska.gov.

For further information:
Being prepared: Ready.gov
Countries:              U.S. State Department Background Notes.
Maps:           United Nations Cartographic Section
                University of Texas Library Map Section.
                        http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/20120.pdf