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Winston-Salem officials urge residents to prepare for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence

Winston-Salem officials urge residents to prepare for Hurricane Florence
September 12
14:23 2018

As Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the Carolinas, during the monthly public safety news conference city officials urged residents to be prepared and stay safe.

At the time of Chronicle publication, the Category 4 hurricane was expected to make landfall sometime Thursday night into Friday morning, bringing heavy rain showers and strong winds to the Tar Heel State throughout the weekend and into next week. Although the trajectory of the storm made a southward turn early Wednesday morning, Mayor Allen Joines and other city officials said Wednesday that locals should still prepare for the worse.

“The key message I have for the citizens this morning is to be ready. Be prepared for extended hours of power outages, flooding and other issues that might occur,” continued Joines. “… The city of Winston-Salem and the county of Forsyth and our joint agencies are working hard to make sure our city is ready.”

August Vernon, director of emergency management, says since Monday he’s had daily talks with the National Weather Service and the N.C. Division of Emergency Management. He said over the five days they’ve been monitoring the storm, the track has changed every day and it’s possible it could change again. He said, “I’ve already heard some comments that we can put our guards down, but I would disagree with that.

“… We definitely need to remain vigilant and continue to keep our defenses up and preparing for the impacts from the storm,” Vernon said.

Vernon, who replaces Mel Saddler, who died earlier his year, also asked residents to create a disaster kit with items such as water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, cash, a first-aid kit, a utility knife and several other items. The complete list is available at ReadyNC.org and ReadyForsyth.org.

To prevent possible flooding Keith Huff, director of stormwater/erosion control, says his team has been working to make sure leaves and other debris are removed from all drains and inlets. He said they want to make sure that system is running at peak effectiveness.

The Winston-Salem Fire Department (WSFD) is doing its part to prepare for Florence as well. Chief Trey Mayo said on a normal day, the WSFD operates with about 90 firefighters and other personnel but beginning on Thursday, that number will increase to 135. The WSFD also has access to several rescue vehicles, including boats, life rafts, additional pumpers and special vehicles with 4-wheel drive.

“The fire department is not in the business of getting ready. We’re in the business of being ready.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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