VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY/WFXR) — As Isaias spins in and out of hurricane status along the Atlantic coast, visitors at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront soaked up the sun and splashed in tranquil waters more than 12 hours before the arrival of Isaias.
Lifeguards watched gentle waves from their stands while they awaited orders to remove the stands, which would become flying objects once the storm approaches the state’s largest city.
With only one month left in the summer tourist season, beachgoers south of the strip also rushed to the shore in Sandbridge Monday to relish another day in the sun before fall.
City Manager Patrick Duhaney has declared a local state of emergency in preparation for the storm.
Virginia Beach is expected to see high winds, rain and possible flooding from Tropical Storm Isaias.
As lifeguards watched the beaches, Virginia Beach Public Works crews were checking on 16 stormwater pump stations, 1,160 miles of stormwater piping, 55,000 manholes and structures, 57 miles of canals, 693 miles of ditches and 500 stormwater ponds outlets and spillways.
They also checked a system of weirs designed to collect rainwater and runoff that could damage hundreds of homes and block roadways, especially from the Princess Anne District to the North Carolina State line.
Some residents took advantage of free sand being offered by the City of Virginia Beach at the Sportsplex Monday. The city brought in 100 tons of sand and was prepared to get more if needed.
Over the past four years, Virginia Beach has spent $53 million on flood mitigation in a dozen neighborhoods. In the Ashville Park neighborhood just north Pungo, crews installed a temporary pump station Friday to hold off any water that could be dragged from North Carolina all the way to the resort city. A permanent pump station should be finished by March 2022.
The Virginia Beach Public Works department says it is completely prepared for whatever the storm brings. They also had COVID-19 hurricane plans in place, but it appears they won’t be needed for this storm.
The big challenge would be if people needed to be sheltered and trying to maintain social distancing, but shelters likely won’t be opened based on the current forecast.
While city crews did the heavy lifting, the city is calling on residents to tie down any loose items in their yards that could become projectiles during the storm. The city also urges citizens to sign up for VBAlert and establish a family emergency plan.
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