RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – A team from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management is heading to Florida before Hurricane Dorian strikes to help with response.
Members of the incident management team will coordinate requests for resources from Florida officials to other states, Jeff Caldwell with the Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management, said.
Urban search and rescue crews based in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia are also on standby to deploy if they are called by FEMA.
”This could still be a potentially dangerous storm for us here in Virginia,” Caldwell added.
VDEM is closely tracking the storm. It’s unknown if the Commonwealth will soon be in its path, but the lessons learned from previous hurricanes help the emergency officials get ready. This year is the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, the 15th year since Gaston. More recently, Virginians remember the destruction from the remnants Florence bringing tornadoes through Chesterfield County and serious flooding southwest from Michael last year.
“We’ll be preparing for impacts that are expected to come here in the middle of next week,” Caldwell explained. “We’ll be getting ready for possible flooding, wind damage or storm surge.”
Before hurricane season started, VDEM started working with its counterparts in North Carolina to coordinate evacuation plans.
“They are the first to get impacted by these storms and often their people come north,” Caldwell said. “We not only have to worry about Virginians.”
Dominion Energy has meteorologists keeping close watch of Dorian’s path. The utility company has customers in the Carolinas. A spokesperson says they are waiting to see what happens before sending crews down to restore power.
”We have to make sure that we have crews in place before they hit,” company spokesperson Rayhan Daydani said. “We’re making sure they have the right equipment so they’re ready to respond and making sure they’ve taken care of their own families and taken all of the steps to make sure their families are safe as well.
If you have some time this weekend, emergency officials suggest you take a look at your backyard and clear up any sticks or objects that may be picked up by strong winds. Also, just in case, make sure a home disaster kit is put together. Hurricane season lasts until the end of November.