Staunton: Prepare for Hurricane Florence
While the latest forecast shows the hurricane taking a sharper turn to the south, and a significant drop in potential rainfall totals for the area, the City’s emergency management team is encouraging residents to be cautious, as the path of the storm is still uncertain.
City Manager Steve Owen is planning to declare a local emergency on Thursday, and City Council will be asked to consent to the declaration at its regular meeting tomorrow evening. The declaration allows the City’s director of emergency management to determine the use of materials, goods, services and resource systems during an emergency situation, which could include calling upon the National Guard for assistance.
- The City’s emergency management team urges residents to subscribe to Staunton Alert Messages, the City’s emergency alert system, to stay updated if the storm severely impacts the City. Residents can opt to receive emergency alerts via text, phone call and email.
- Residents 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.
- Local emergency management officials are mobilizing resources, installing flood gauges and remain in constant contact with state and federal officials to stay informed of the latest storm track.
- The City’s Public Works Department has been developing plans for clearing debris and downed trees, clearing obstructions from creeks and working with Dominion Virginia Power to prepare a plan for power restoration, if necessary.
- Flooding is the biggest hazard during hurricanes like Florence. Motorists should never attempt to drive across flooded roadways. Most injuries and deaths occur when motorists try to cross flooded roads.
Roads and bridges can be damaged or completely washed away beneath flood waters, and a few inches of water can sweep vehicles downstream. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.
- Prepare a three-day supply of necessities, including food, water, batteries and gas. Visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/
hurricanes to learn how to prepare.
- Batten down. Be sure to secure items that could be carried away by rising water or high winds.
- Beware of scams. Do not give your personal and financial information to unsolicited callers asking for hurricane relief donations.
Closures & Cancellations
- Given its tendency to flood, the City will close Gypsy Hill Park at 5 p.m., Friday. The African-American Heritage Festival, scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Gypsy Hill Park, has been cancelled. The park will remain closed until public safety officials deem it appropriate to reopen. Those who enter the park while closed will be subject to a trespassing citation.
- Streets prone to flooding will be closed if significant rainfall occurs. Residents are asked to avoid parking in low-lying areas that could experience flooding. Fees will be suspended in the New Street Parking Garage for the duration of the storm.
- Stay tuned for updates on other closures and cancellations.
Sandbags & Flood Control
- The City will provide materials for residents to make their own sandbags on Friday and Saturday at Montgomery Hall Park. The City will provide the sand and bags.
- Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. both days, residents can bag their own sand at the soccer field parking lot in Montgomery Hall Park. Supplies will be available on a first-come, first served basis, while they last. Be sure to bring a shovel.
- The City advises businesses on the Wharf to mount their flood control panels to help protect against flood damage.
- The City and Staunton City Schools have prepared three shelters if an area of the City needs to be evacuated or if power outages last longer than three days.
- A.R. Ware Elementary School will serve as the primary shelter for residents. Two other City schools will also serve as additional shelters if needed.