Friday, 14 September 2018 13:08

Florence's turn makes for minimal Valley impact

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AutoZone on Julian R. Allsbrook Highway advertises it is open. AutoZone on Julian R. Allsbrook Highway advertises it is open.

The turn of Hurricane Florence has made for minimal impacts in the Roanoke Valley, officials said.

“We’ve had a couple of trees down,” said Buddy Wrenn, Halifax County emergency management coordinator.

As of this report, power was being restored to the county 911 Center after a limb fell, Wrenn said.

The Roanoke Valley is currently experiencing the outer bands of Florence, Wrenn said. “We’re going to be looking at this kind of weather for the next 24 hours. We may have heavier rains. We’re estimating 2 to 3 inches. We’re expecting very minimal (effects) as far as impact which is why we’re very lucky.”

Had the storm not turned, Wrenn said, “We would face the same thing others are. There’s absolutely minimal impacts. We’re looking forward to assist down range.”

Crews of swiftwater rescue teams from Ohio and Florida set up in Roanoke Rapids to assist in areas which are being heavily impacted by the storm, Wrenn said.

Wrenn said there is still a chance for low end tornadoes as the outer band of Florence goes through the area. “We might have a heavy band which floods a road. We would encourage anyone looking for opportunities to assist with response to donate.”

Roanoke Rapids police Chief Chuck Hasty said officials continue to monitor the storm. “We’re prepared for anything that may come up. Everyone is on standby.”

Thus far there has been no major damage in the city.

Public Works Director Larry Chalker said, “We were really prepared for the storm and we are glad the impact has been minimal.”

City Planning and Development Director Kelly Lasky, who is serving as the public information officer during the storm, cautioned, “The storm is not over yet.”

Lasky said she was pleased with the partnerships forged in response to the storm in its wake and during the actual event. “We’ve developed and demonstrated partnerships and good working relationships. Our role is to provide public services. Safety is paramount.”

The protocols developed in preparation for Florence will serve as a study of what went well and what the city can improve upon, Lasky said.

Florence, however, may not be the last of the threats as Joyce and Helene loom in the Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center. “Hurricane season is not over,” Lasky said. “We can expect additional threats are possible.”

In Northampton County, Economic Development Director Gary Brown, who serves as PIO, said in a statement, “The Northampton County Emergency Operations Center advises county residents that the potential for inclement weather resulting from Hurricane Florence remains.” Hurricane Florence made landfall in the vicinity of Wilmington earlier today and is slowly moving westward. “There is continuing potential for locally heavy rain and gusting wind throughout Northeastern North Carolina, including Northampton County.”

Northampton County closed all emergency shelters today. “The closing of the shelters will allow for shelter operational manpower and other resources to be redeployed elsewhere in the region and state,” Brown said. “Northampton County is grateful for the work of the Red Cross, the Northampton County Department of Social Services, the Northampton County Health Department and the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office for a job exceptionally well done in shelter operations.”

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