Stay alert for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence, a category four hurricane as of Monday at noon, is expected to move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the United States Thursday. A meteorologist from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wakefield offers a look into how this storm could affect people in the Heart of Virginia.

“Right now there’s still some uncertainty about the track,” NWS Meteorologist Eswar Iyer said Monday about the path of the hurricane. “The main threats would be heavy rainfall and flooding, in addition to some gusty winds, and depending on the track it takes those impacts could potentially be very significant.”

Iyer said, however, some projections of the storm indicate that Hurricane Florence could travel far enough south that the impacts in Central Virginia would be less than severe.

The possibility of high winds and flooding can be daunting. For residents and families preparing for the storm, Iyer recommended visiting the NWS Wakefield website, which has resources for protecting one’s homes in the event of a hurricane.

Recommendations include securing one’s homes by covering all of the windows.

“Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows,” the website cited. “A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit and ready to install. Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the pre-storm rush.”

“Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm,” the website continued. “Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can. Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.”

Following instructions from local officials and listen to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news are also listed.

Virginia issued a state of emergency Saturday in anticipation of damage from the storm.

“A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and pre-position people and equipment to assist in storm response and recovery efforts,” a release from the Office of the Govenor cited.

Buckingham County Administrator Rebecca Carter announced Monday that the county is set to declare a local state of emergency in anticipation of the hurricane and that the county’s emergency services released robot calls to county residents alerting them to the hurricane and reminding them to purchase supplies and establish an emergency plan.

In the event of power outages, contact Dominion Energy at (866) 366-4357 or Southside Electric Cooperative at (866) 878-5514.

In the event that assistance from area first responders is needed to remove fallen trees, fire-related or medical emergencies, contact the Prince Edward County Rescue Squad at (434) 392-6973, the Farmville Fire Department at (434) 392-6543, Randolph District Volunteer Fire Department in Cumberland at (434) 392-4671, Cumberland Volunteer Rescue Squad at (804) 492-5754, Cartersville Rescue Squad at (804) 375-3399, Dillwyn Fire Department at (434) 983-3484 and Buckingham County Volunteer Rescue Squad at (434) 983-3560.

In statements Monday, Dan Pempel with Randolph District Volunteer Fire Department, Brian Butler with Prince Edward County Rescue Squad and Dean Farmer with Farmville Fire Department said they are ready to take residents’ calls in the event of high winds or flooding.

Pempel said the fire department can respond to fallen trees, though said trees too large to move would have to be handled by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Butler said the rescue squad will have additional crew ready to respond to emergencies, and encouraged participants to stay away from flooded areas.

Farmer encouraged households to stock at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day for the duration of the storm. He also encouraged people to keep a three-day supply of food, a supply of flashlights, batteries, medication, sanitation items and a working cellphone and charger.

Piedmont Senior Resources, in a social media statement, encouraged participants to also fill their vehicle tanks with gasoline before the storm, and to also keep enough gasoline for one’s generators.

To contact Centra Southside Community Hospital, call (434) 392-8811.



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