Staunton hunkering down for possible impacts from Hurricane Laura

(© Richard –

Staunton has been hit hard recently by two spot thunderstorms that have caused millions of dollars in flood damage, so city officials are not taking the potential weekend impact of Hurricane Laura lightly.

The current forecast shows that the remnants of the storm will affect Virginia this weekend with possible rainfall of 1-2 inches, which, given the currently saturated soils, could cause flooding.

The city’s emergency management team is encouraging residents to be prepared, as the path of the storm is still uncertain.

City Preparations

  • Local emergency management officials are mobilizing resources and monitoring state and federal sources to stay informed of the latest storm track.
  • The City’s Public Works Department has continued aggressive efforts to clean storm drain inlets, pipes, and culverts, and to clear debris and remove obstructions from creeks.
  • Tomorrow, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will begin a slow release of water in Lake Tams to increase its stormwater retention capacity. With the increased capacity, the amount of water that reaches the main water course immediately after this weekend’s rain will be reduced, possibly mitigating the effects of flooding downstream.

Safety Measures

  • The City will provide materials for individuals to make their own sandbags. Distribution of materials is scheduled on Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 am to 4 p.m. The city will provide materials, including sand and bags, on a first come, first served basis. For additional details read the full media release.
  • The city advises owners and occupants of properties on Byers Street, Lewis Street and Central Avenue, whose properties are equipped with flood shields, to mount the shields as a precaution.
  • To mitigate potential flood debris, residents are asked to secure items that could be carried away by rising waters or high winds such as outdoor furniture, grills, children’s toys, and trash cans.

Closures & Cancellations

  • Street and park closures may be necessary, depending on conditions during the storm. Observe signs posted by the city and stay tuned for updates on closures and cancellations.
  • Individuals are asked to avoid parking in low-lying areas prone to flooding.Fee-free, off-street parking is available in the New Street and Johnson Street parking garages from 6 p.m. on Friday to 8 a.m. on Monday.

Emergency Alerts

  • The city’s emergency management team urges individuals to subscribe to Staunton Alert Messages, the city’s emergency alert system, to stay updated if the storm severely impacts the city. Individuals can opt to receive emergency alerts via text, phone call and email.
  • Individuals should also stay tuned to the City of Staunton’s Facebook and Twitter pages to get the latest information — on Facebook: City of Staunton; on Twitter: @StauntonCityVA.
  • In an emergency, always call 911. Do not contact the city through social media channels or through other non-emergency numbers to report an emergency.

Additional Safety Guidelines and Personal Preparedness

City officials strongly stress the importance of personal preparedness in pending storm situations, noting that the best protection comes from having disaster plans and emergency kits for homes and businesses.

Click here to connect to hurricane preparedness information from the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.

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