VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Officials across Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina are preparing for possible tropical storm conditions that could impact the region.
A system moving up the coast has a chance of becoming a tropical cyclone. With it, this system would bring high winds, rain and a threat for flooding for many localities.
In Dare County, officials advised residents to get ready for the system now. Residents are advised to secure outdoor furniture and other loose, lightweight objects.
“It can move furniture around, it can blow things over, it can knock tree limbs down, it can take power out,” Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said. “If you do have to head out, keep an eye on the conditions. If you see heavy rains in front of you or around you, turn around. Don’t get caught in a storm that may put your life at risk.”
Officials say soundside flooding could get as high as 1 to 2 feet in places as the system moves off shore.
The threat from this system prompted officials to close Dare County Public Schools on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools will operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday due to the forecast. The delay will allow school officials to assess the roads before buses begin their routes. Based on that, the school system may change its status. Perquimans County Schools are also delayed by two hours Tuesday.
The deployment of the USS Wasp from Naval Station Norfolk was delayed as well. Hyde County officials have declared a state of emergency.
Video from one viewer showed waves crashing in, wind whipping around and red flags up Monday afternoon in Nags Heads.
The City of Virginia Beach says officials are monitoring the system and are making arrangements to be sure they’re prepared. Crews are checking storm drains and pump stations, inspecting and securing equipment and reviewing staffing to support emergency conditions.
Drew Lankford with Virginia Beach Public Works said crews planned to take precautions throughout the city.
“We’re going to have high winds. More than likely going to close the landfill. Our stormwater people were out checking all the storm drains and the pump stations. We’ve got extra trucks and crews coming on for that,” Lankford said.
Lankford said the city was checking on traffic signals and making sure objects around city properties were tied down. Work on the Lesner Bridge is suspended and Waste Management has suspended the collection of bulky items for Tuesday.
Red flags were flying at the Oceanfront Monday, where crews had secured trash cans on the beach. Tom Gill, Chief of Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service, said no one should go in the water beyond their ankles.
“Conditions are not good for swimming, at all. Stay out of the water as much as you can. Tomorrow’s going to be much worse. It will probably not be a beach day at all,” he said.
In Chesapeake, public works crews spent much of Monday cleaning pipes and clearing stormdrains.
“We want to keep water flowing, that’s critical,” said Heath Covey, Chesapeake’s Director of Public Communication.
Covey said that citizens can take measures to prevent flooding, too. He advises people to check their yards for loose limbs, leaves or other heavy debris.
“Move them in a way that they won’t wash into the stormwater systems,” he said.
In Suffolk, staff members with the Department of Emergency Management briefed department leaders on their action plan. City spokeswoman Diana Klink told 10 On Your Side that crews have been clearing out known problem areas and clearing out beaver dams.
Trucks are fueled and loaded with signage, barricades, chainsaws and other types of equipment that could come in use depending on the storm’s strength.
Norfolk city leaders are encouraging residents to prep hurricane kits and register for city alerts at www.norfolk.gov/alert. Meantime, crews prepared by cleaning drains and ditches.
The city says it is opening the York Street parking garage (at 215 W. York Street) for residents to park their vehicles. This garage will stay open until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
In Portsmouth, spokeswoman Dana Woodson told 10 On Your Side that crews will be on standby into the evening, monitoring the storm. Workers cleaned drains and outfalls during the day.
The city has opened two parking garages for free, for residents to relocate their vehicles in case of flooding. From 5 p.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Wednesday, residents are able to park their cars in the Middle Street Garage in spaces that are not marked as “reserved” on the second floor or higher. Residents can also park on the second floor of the County Street garage.
Dominion Energy says it is keeping a close eye on the forecast — and potential outages. You can prepare for extended outages by having emergency kits with flashlights, water, medicines, portable radios, extra batteries and non-perishable goods.