Isle of Wight bracing for more rain, wind

Published 1:41 pm Saturday, October 3, 2015

As of Friday morning, Hurricane Joaquin was expected to pass well offshore from Northeastern North Carolina, Virginia and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard, according to the National Weather Service in Wakefield. Presuming that forecast holds, that’s one less worry for Isle of Wight County residents. But there’s still the issue of the existing storm and its effects.

This graphic shows a forecast for rainfall this weekend. -- National Weather Service

This graphic shows a forecast for rainfall this weekend. — National Weather Service

The rainfall forecast at showed that over the next 48 hours, there could be an accumulation of approximately 3.25 inches in the county.

Meanwhile, local agencies are preparing for whatever may come.

“We have some vehicles available for high-water situations,” said Windsor Police Chief R.D. Riddle. “We’ll just adjust scheduling [of officers] as necessary.”

He acknowledged that the biggest concern has been the hurricane, and while its course seems to have steered away from landfall, he cautioned, “we’re not out of the woods.”

Riddle added that the town and surrounding area will see localized flooding.

The county on a larger scale has also been getting ready.

“We were and still are to some degree preparing,” County spokesman Don Robertson said on Friday morning. He added that there was a large-scale briefing on Thursday, which included various county departments and volunteers, fire and rescue agencies and the Sheriff’s Office. Shelter teams were put on standby, and a briefing was scheduled for later on Friday.

“We talked about the status of what the storm was and what preparations we needed to make, including pre-staging equipment, having personnel ready, ensuring all vehicles are operational and gassed up and equipment tested and ready to operate,” Robertson said. “Those are we things we would do [in the event of any storm] and did do. It’s still a matter of wait-and-see.”

“Even if the hurricane does not impact us to any great degree,” he continued, “there’s flash flooding [to watch out for] and a still coastal flood warning in effect.

The county agencies are not letting themselves “be distracted by the fact that the hurricane prognosis is improving,” Robertson said, adding that throughout Isle of Wight, water has already reportedly crossed some roadways. At that time, he had no reports on any in the Windsor area.

“We’re still dealing with this nor’easter and pretty bad weather conditions. There’s still a distinct possibility that things will get worse with flooding,” the spokesman added. “This has been an excellent exercise in that everyone knows what they should be doing in terms of storm preparation. For some people, this is new.”