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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Hazardous Weather Conditions Impact Region

(NWS)

Editor’s Note — This story will update as more information becomes available.

HAMPTON ROADS — A powerful weather system promising heavy rains, flooding and winds was prompting warnings and some postponements across the region Tuesday.

“We’re still on track for a strong, impactful weather system to cross the area today. Winds gradually increase through the day, peaking this afternoon and evening,” the U.S. National Weather Service in Wakefield said in a post on Facebook. “Moderate to locally major coastal flooding is forecast in the middle and upper Chesapeake Bay and Currituck Sound. Rain will develop through this morning, but will fall heavily at times late today and this evening ahead of the approaching cold front.”

The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Hazardous Weather Outlook warned of increasingly strong, gusty winds across the area this afternoon and into this evening. It said a few severe storms are also possible, with the main threat being damaging winds and an isolated tornado. NWS added there is also a potential for rain to fall heavily at times, which could lead to river flooding and flash flooding in urban or flood-prone areas.

A flood watch and wind advisory are in effect for the area from 1 p.m. this afternoon to 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced on X he has directed the Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) to remain at a Yellow status level — increased readiness/monitoring — and that Coordination continues across Virginia with VDOT, Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other agencies.

“Stay alert and informed by following the latest forecasts and I ask all Virginians to be vigilant in their travel today,” Youngkin said.

Dominion Energy warned customers in an email Monday of the storm’s potential to bring down trees and overhead lines, creating the potential for power outages. Dominion reminded customers they can quickly report and track outages with the Dominion Energy app or report it online at DominionEnergy.com, and cautioned people to stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately by calling 1-866-366-4357.

Dominion said crews are prepared and stand ready in the event the approaching storm impacts the community.

Dominion also offered a few tips on how to prepare:

  • Keep mobile phones and other devices fully charged.
  • If power goes out, keep freezers and refrigerators closed as long as possible to preserve the food inside.
  • If someone in the home requires electricity for medical equipment, have a backup plan in case an alternate location with power is needed.

The City of Williamsburg took to Facebook to remind residents to prepare for the severe weather by securing anything in your yard that can become a projectile, including your trash/recycling bins.

It also announced Waller Mill Park will be closing at noon Tuesday, and Quarterpath Recreation Center will be closing at 4 p.m. All youth basketball games and practices are canceled for Tuesday, Jan. 9.

York County cautioned residents to stay safe and rescheduled the Waterfront Facilities public forum scheduled for this evening to next Thursday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m. in the Freight Shed.

The York County School Division was implementing early dismissals for all schools Tuesday due to the potential for hazardous weather conditions. All after-school activities and events, including athletic practices are canceled, and the Boys and Girls Club and Right at School will also be closed this afternoon.

According to the division, schools will dismiss as follows:

  • 1:00 p.m. Dismissal: All high schools with the exception of York River Academy
  • 1:45 p.m. Dismissal: All middle schools and YRA
  • 2:30 p.m. Dismissal: All elementary schools
WJCC Schools announced it will close one hour early Tuesday, and parents should anticipate buses will arrive at the afternoon bus stops one hour earlier than usual. In addition, all after-school athletics and activities are canceled. Early release times and more details are available at wjccschools.org.

Gloucester Schools are also dismissing early, as well:

  • Middle Schools: 12:20 p.m.
  • High School: 12:30 p.m.
  • Elementary Schools: 1:30 p.m. Pre-K students will follow the early dismissal schedule and be released at 1:30 p.m.

In addition, all afternoon and evening activities for Tuesday are canceled. Tonight’s school board meeting is rescheduled for tomorrow, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m.

The Coast Guard urged the maritime community to exercise caution. Coast Guard Sectors throughout the Mid-Atlantic region are closely monitoring the weather and have issued Marine Safety Information Broadcasts (MSIB) to inform mariners of the weather. As forecasted predictions change, the captain of the ports throughout the region will evaluate if port conditions restrictions are necessary.

Up-to-date port conditions are posted at the following Homeport webpages:

Gale-force winds impacting areas from New Jersey to North Carolina were anticipated to remain through Thursday morning. Sustained southeast winds between 25 and 35 mph are anticipated in the area, resulting in hazardous marine conditions that create life-threatening beach hazards, including dangerous rip currents and large battering waves, it said.

The Coast Guard warned capabilities may be limited during or immediately after the storm. As conditions subside, the Coast Guard will work to restore full response capability and conduct post-storm assessments.

“This storm is expected to bring dangerous conditions,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Malicki, an operations unit watchstander with Coast Guard 5th District Command Center. “We urge the public to think twice before heading out on the water, keep an eye on reliable weather sources, know your limits, and have a plan for emergencies.”

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