Friday, December 9, 2022

City of Williamsburg gives rundown on how it prepared for Florence

The Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its annual door to door fundraiser from March 22 to April 5. (Andrew Harris/ WYDaily)
The City of Williamsburg prepared extensively for Hurricane Florence, although it ended up not hitting the Williamsburg area. (WYDaily/Andrew Harris)

After Florence sidestepped southeastern Virginia this week, the City of Williamsburg is giving citizens the rundown on how it prepared for the worst.

Throughout this past week, Williamsburg staff checked equipment, prepared to open an emergency shelter and the Emergency Operations Center, cleaned out storm drains and more in preparation of the storm, which at one point was a Category 4 hurricane.

Florence is no longer forecast to be a threat to the Williamsburg area, although it dropped as many as 30 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina.

The city never had to open the Emergency Operations Center or the shelter, the city said in a news release Saturday.

“I am thankful for the way City staff, residents and businesses reacted to storm forecasts and warnings,” Interim City Manager Andrew Trivette said. “Despite not being greatly impacted the threat was serious and the community reacted appropriately. That is precisely what is needed to get a community through serious weather events.”

Here’s a list of actions the city took in preparation for the storm:

  • Public works crews inspected and cleaned storm drains, prepared equipment such as chain saws and generators and fueled vehicles.
  • The city’s water treatment plant monitored the reservoir level to prepare for predicted rainfall from Florence.
  • Parks and recreation staff secured equipment and facilities such as watercraft at Waller Mill Park.
  • Parks and recreation and human services staff prepared the Quarterpath Recreation Center for use as an emergency shelter.
  • The communications office responded to media requests and used an emergency banner on the city’s website and social media to give updates to the public.
  • Human services staff helped those who were evacuating and prepared to help at the city’s emergency shelter.
  • A new geographic information system platform developed by city staff went live for the first time. The platform tracks pending and completed incident response and will be beneficial for future emergency events.

While Florence may have passed, city emergency officials still warn residents that hurricane season is not yet over.

“Chief Dent urges everyone to take this post-storm opportunity to review their emergency plans, keep their emergency kits stocked and stay informed,” the release said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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