Officials caution residents to be ready ahead of severe storms

News

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads could see some strong storms late Friday heading into the Easter weekend.

Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson said in his Friday morning blog a line of storms is expected to come through around midnight and last until just before sunrise on Saturday. Damaging wind gusts and flooding are expected to be the main threats from these storms.

The risk for tornadoes forming with this system is low. A tornado watch was issued for the entire Hampton Roads region and parts of northeast North Carolina until 12 a.m. Saturday.

The National Weather Service said a high surf advisory is in effect from 1 p.m. Friday through 9 p.m. Saturday between from Oregon Inlet and Surf City in North Carolina. The advisory said there is a high risk of rip currents, with ocean overwash possible, during that time.

A flash flood watch was issued for much of the Hampton Roads and northwest North Carolina regions through late Friday night.

PREPARATIONS FOR CITIES, COUNTIES

Officials in localities across the viewing area said they are monitoring the forecast. Some cities — like Norfolk, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg — are keeping their staff informed and even have some people on stand-by in case the conditions get bad.

Virginia Beach officials asked residents in the southern part of the city to make preparations ahead of the storms — which could mean tidal flooding, high water and some road closures.

The city released a map showing the areas that could be hardest hit from rising water levels coming from Back Bay and the lower North Landing River.

Virginia Beach Public Works Spokesman, Drew Lankford, says there are areas that the city is paying close attention to ahead of the storm. 

“The area of the city that we are most worried about is the southern part of the city because they’ve had tidal flooding, with winds coming out of the south, that raises the tides down there, rain has nothing to do with it, it’s all based on wind, but now we are going to have wind and rain for a number of hours.”

Virginia Beach said police, fire and EMS are preparing staff and resources for the storm, including having high-water vehicles placed in certain areas.

“We wanted residents to know if they are in areas that are prone to flooding, start considering whether you want to stick around or you want to move to higher ground. Understand that if it goes as predicted or as forecast, there are going to be some areas and roads we are going to have to close and put signs up and let people know it’s going to be a rough two or three days,” said Lankford. “We are telling people to tie things down, particularly in the Southern part of the city where we think there will be some problems with road closures and flooding. We are telling people to make plans. If you don’t like the idea, start planning for where you are going to go.”

According to the City of Virginia Beach: 

– Emergency Management will be coordinating with Public Works and the public safety agencies to identify the areas with flooded roads and high water for the citizens. We are coordinating with Dominion Energy in the expectation of some power outages due to the high winds.

– Public safety reminds all residents and visitors the importance of not walking, swimming, or driving through flood waters. Remember to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

– The Office of Emergency Communications and Citizen Services reminds residents to call 911 for emergencies and 311 for non-emergencies.

– Residents can go to the City’s web site at www.vbgov.com, the City’s Facebook page or on Twitter and Instagram for updates and notices about road closures and high water areas.

TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION

National Park Service officials said in a tweet it would be warning all campers at the grounds on Cape Hatteras National Seashore of the severe weather threat.

Officials with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel said early Friday morning drivers should expect wind restrictions, which will be implemented as needed. Read more about the different levels of wind restrictions at this link.

Dominion Energy said customers should prepare for possible power outages.

The company said in a news release they are “staffed up and ready to respond” in the event of outages. Customers can report outages on Dominion’s website or by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

Virginia State Police issued a reminder for drivers to “be extra cautious” if they have to drive during “potentially dangerous conditions.” State Police advised drivers to do the following: 

  • Wipers On = Lights On – Virginia law requires headlights to be on when windshield wipers are active. Headlights also make you more visible to other drivers in heavy rains.
  • Drive for Conditions – Slow your speeds for conditions and give yourself extra stopping distance. 
  • Buckle Up – One of the easiest ways to survive a crash is by simply wearing your seat belt and making certain all adult, teen and juvenile passengers are safely secured.
  • Turn Around. Don’t Drown. – Motorists should never attempt to drive through high water, as the depth and speed of the water can be deceiving and dangerous. 

Look for forecast updates on WAVY’s Super Doppler 10 Online, on air during WAVY newscasts and through the free WAVY Weather app.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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