PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth is among the localities that have declared a local state of emergency due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian and its potential impact.
Emergency officials made the call at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The city has opened I.C. Norcom High School as a shelter — and two more buildings are on stand-by — in case it is needed. Additionally, the city is opening several parking garages for those who want to move their cars at a higher elevation.
City garages include County, Harbor, Middle and Water Street. The garages will be open and available for vehicles in low-lying areas on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 8 a.m. Vehicles can remain in the garages until 7 a.m. Monday, prior to normal city hours of operation at 8 a.m.
Justin Arnold, deputy coordinator for the city’s Emergency Management Department, said city officials are making the calls early because they want to stay ahead of the potential impacts.
“Hurricane Matthew taught us not to turn our back to us. So, we are preparing for the worst,” Arnold said. “We don’t mind opening shelters up and then saying hey, we didn’t need it. It’s a great training environment. We are prepared here in Portsmouth for the worst.”
Portsmouth schools will be closed Thursday and Friday ahead of the storm.
“What is the overall community if something doesn’t happen? But what happens if it does. We want to be sure to rescue people from flood waters if the case may be or have to assist people. We don’t want to open that up during the storm. We want that done now,” Arnold said.
Thursday: City Garages will open at 8 a.m.; the emergency shelter will open at I.C. Norcom High School at noon.
Friday: Portsmouth City Offices will be closed on Friday, September 5th. Essential personnel must report. All trash, recycling, and bulk collections are cancelled; more information in the graphics below…
The city is asking any residents with questions to call the 311 non-emergency line.