Southampton County preparing for Florence

Published 3:19 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson said the the following steps have been taken in anticipation

First, as of this pastFriday, all county personnel with assigned responsibilities under the County’s Emergency Operations Plan were alerted to transition to a “State of Increased Readiness.” Under a “State of Increased Readiness,” personnel are expected to review their roles and responsibilities under the EOP, alert appropriate personnel, and assure that appropriate mitigation and preparedness measures are being planned and taken.

Second, nder the County EOP, the County Administrator is designated as the Director of Emergency Services with legal authority to declare alocal state of emergency. A local Declaration activates the Emergency Operations Plan and authorizes the provision of aid and assistance. It is typically declared when a coordinated response among several local agencies/organizations must be directed or when it becomes necessary to incur substantial financial obligations in order to protect the health and safety of persons and property or to provide assistance to the victims of a disaster. A local Declaration is also a prerequisite to reimbursement of expenses if the disaster is later designated as a “Federally Declared Disaster” by the President.

Third, Johnson made the official local Declaration on Monday afternoon. Accordingly, Southampton County is preparing to mobilize personnel and resources in anticipation of storm impacts.

Fourth, he convened a meeting on Tuesday afternoon in the BOS meeting room (following a 1 p.m. conference call with the National Weather Service & Virginia Department of Emergency Management) to meet with personnel who have assigned Emergency Service Functions (ESF’s) under the EOP including Communications, Public Information, Law Enforcement, Medical and Health, Fire Services, Rescue/EMS, Transportation/Emergency Evacuation, Sheltering, and Utilities/Public Works. Discussion and coordinating of ongoing activities would take place. Johnson added that sheltering decisions, based upon the latest timing and track of the storm, would also be made at this time.

Fifth, the timing and track of the storm remains uncertain, but there is an increasing risk of life threatening impacts. “What we know with increasing certainty is that “this storm will be a substantial rainmaker,” he said.

The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds. Flooding is the deadliest result of these storms. Please alert your readers to prepare for flash flooding, and potential river flooding. Motorists should never drive across flooded roadways. Roadways could be damaged beneath flood waters, and a few inches of water can sweep vehicles away. Remind them to, “Turn around, don’t drown.”

Finally, current forecast models indicate that Florence may make landfall in the vicinity of Wilmington, North Carolina, shortly after midnight on Thursday, tracking northwest toward Fayetteville and Greensboro, but possibly stalling and dropping more than 15 inches of rain in some areas. This could lead to widespread and dangerous flooding, inundation of roads and damaging infrastructure. Potential widespread power outages may also expected. Residents should continue to monitor this very dangerous storm and prepare accordingly: