VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) Across Hampton Roads, city departments are gearing up for the possibility of flooding and then a potential hurricane toward the end of the weekend. Many cities and departments spent Wednesday on the phone making calls and making plans. In Virginia Beach, Chief Steve Cover with the Fire Department is also in charge of the city s Emergency Operations Center.
He said the Center is not being activated just yet, but officials are keeping their eye on the forecast models. People that are prone to flooding in their neighborhoods or homes should be paying attention to what s going to happen. Make preparations early, have a kit, have your food and water laid out early in the process.
That s helpful. If any of your family members are dependent on electricity or medications make sure you take that into account early on, Cover explained. He said the city is not yet enacting any plans for Hurricane Joaquin this many days out, but they are going down their lists, making sure they know what to prepare for.
We look at staffing, we look at equipment, we look at potentialities of if we have to activate the Emergency Operations Center. We look at our plan from keeping the roadways open, to sheltering, to all of the processes that we have to go through. So we ll take a look at some of those items today and do some pre-planning on that front and we ll go from there.
For several hours Wednesday night, crews in Virginia Beach worked to replace a failing storm drainage pipe on Great Neck Road. Traffic was down to one lane, as an excavator removed mounds of dirt. Crews were expected to work continuously until the replacement was finished.
Drew Lankford with the city s department of public works says the road crews are constantly maintaining storm drains and roads so they won t be doing anything much different ahead of this cold front that could bring several inches of rain. But, he says the city will bring in extra crews to respond to high flood areas if needed. In Portsmouth and in Norfolk, city officials are also monitoring roads, storm drains, and drainage ditches.
They spent much of Wednesday clearing out any debris. Paula Miller with VDOT says they are already getting their hurricane gear staged in case Joaquin makes landfall in Hampton Roads. But, if it goes out to sea, she said her crews will still be very busy dealing with all the rain over the next few days.
Miller says they have extra contractors and tree services on stand-by. The ground gets saturated, trees come down, there can be a lot of different issues. There are wind events and then there are water events.
If the ground is so saturated that trees start coming down in the roadways, obviously that s going to be one of the things that we re going to be prepared to respond to, Miller explained. All of the officials tell 10 On Your Side to let viewers know now is the time to make sure they are prepared. Tie down or bring any lawn furniture inside, check your food and water supplies.
Also, make sure you have batteries and flashlights just in case power goes out.
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