Franklin declares local emergency

Published 3:45 pm Monday, September 10, 2018

City department heads prepare for arrival of Florence

Interim Deputy City Manager H. Taylor Williams IV, on Monday afternoon, signed a declaration of local emergency for the City of Franklin in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Williams explained this authorizes the city to begin purchasing whatever equipment or supplies it will need to prepare for the storm.

“If we need sand, we can buy sand; if we need to rent a generator, we can rent a generator,” he said. “We don’t have to go through the normal procurement requirements. It frees everyone up to do what’s necessary.”

Williams added that that morning, he and all of the city’s department heads and deputy department heads met to discuss emergency operation procedures and to establish an emergency operations center.

“It’s a virtual center at this point,” Williams said, explaining that the city does in fact have a physical EOC. If opened, this would be the location that selected department heads would report to in the event that the storm gets bad enough.

The city also plans to open Franklin High School as an emergency shelter for residents. However, Williams emphasized that the shelter was not currently open and would not be so until later in the week.

“That will be a decision we probably make Thursday or Friday, and in large part it will be based on the weather,” Williams said.

One of the concerns brought up during the meeting of department heads was the amount of rainfall expected both here and elsewhere in Virginia.

“We’ve heard that rainfall could be anywhere from 8 to 10 inches here,” Williams said. “But even further inland, it could be as much as 30 inches before the storm finally dissipates.”

This, he said, presents a problem for anyone who needs or wants to evacuate.

“If you were going to evacuate, you would need to leave right now to get far enough away,” Williams said. “You’d have to have somewhere to go, a relative or a firend. I don’t think the emergency shelters would be open in the western part of the state. I’m not sure 100 miles would get you out of the way of the storm.”

Williams added that the city would be posting regular updates on the storm, its location and strength, on the city’s website,, and Facebook page.