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Office Of Emergency Management
620 W. Division St.
Arlington, TX 76001

P.O. Box 90231
Arlington, TX 76004-3231

Phone: 817-459-6939
Emergency Call 9-1-1

Email

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COMMUNITY HAZARDS

In order of potential impact

  1. Tornadoes
  2. Severe Thunderstorms/Hail/Lightning
  3. Flooding
  4. Hazardous Materials Incidents
  5. Winter Storms
  6. Wildfire
  7. Mass Casualty Incidents
  8. Other Threats

Description of hazards

1. Tornadoes – Arlington is located at the southern edge of Tornado Alley. A tornado struck Arlington in 1995 causing extensive damage to a hotel and surrounding businesses near I-30 and Collins. In March of 2000 an F-3 tornado hit the southeast area of the city. Numerous homes and several businesses were so severely affected that complete rebuilding was necessary. Tornadoes are the most violent weather systems on earth and the potential for large losses of life and property, coupled with extremely vulnerable populations at outdoor venues, leads to its placement as the number one hazard facing Arlington.

2. Severe Thunderstorms/Hail/Lightning – Thunderstorms are a year round occurrence in the City of Arlington, particularly in the spring and, to a lesser, degree in the fall. The May 1995 hailstorm caused extensive damage to the southwest area of the City, mostly in the form of damage to roofs and vehicles. Lightning causes several house fires each year and has life-threatening potential. In 1998, the Office of Emergency Management activated storm spotters on eight occasions, an abnormally low figure possibly related to the summer drought.

3. Flooding – The frequency of thunderstorms with heavy rainfall in a short time span can lead to flash flooding throughout the City. Johnson Creek has historically been the most susceptible area of town to flash flooding followed by Kee Branch and Village Creek. In 1989 and 1990, Lake Arlington waters overflowed into the emergency spillway. These are the only times this phenomena has occurred. Significant flooding has created problems each of the last ten years. In 1991, one person died when he drove into Johnson Creek.

4. Hazardous Materials Incidents – Arlington has a significant potential for hazardous materials incidents due to the nature of manufacturing facilities and the many transportation routes through the City.
Transportation corridors include I-20, I-30, SH 360, Union Pacific and Burlington-Northern/Santa Fe Railroads. I-20 is designated as a transportation corridor for interstate hazardous materials shipments, including radioactive wastes. Ten major pipelines transit the City, carrying the entire spectrum of hydrocarbon products. There are numerous flammable liquid and gas storage facilities astride these pipelines.
The two most significant pipeline incidents were the 1984 petroleum leak in River Legacy Park and the natural gas pipeline fire in 1993 that burned through TU Electric power lines causing 17 towers to collapse.
In fiscal year 1998, the Hazardous Materials Response Team responded to 172 haz-mat related incidents.

5. Winter Storms – Arlington is vulnerable to winter storms. This area is much more likely to receive frozen precipitation in the form of ice rather than snow. Recent winter storms occurred in: 1964, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1983 and 2000.

Winter Weather Street Sanding & Preparedness

6. Wildfire – Although construction continues to reduce the amount of open spaces, wildfire remains a serious problem. Hundreds of acres have burned over the past two years and have threatened numerous structures. In FY97, the Department responded to 518 grass fires and in FY98, 688 grass fires.

7. Mass Casualty Incidents – The potential for mass casualty incidents is high due to the large tourist influx during the spring, summer and early fall. During FY98, the Fire Department responded to five MCI’s. The Department’s emergency medical section considers ten or more patients to qualify as a MCI.

8. Others Threats - Additional threats are covered under the City’s Emergency Operations Plan All Hazard approach.

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