There were also two conversations today with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). The first which occurred earlier in the day was the opportunity for Director Shawn Talmadge and Deputy Director Erin Sutton to talk with local leadership throughout the Commonwealth and emphasize VDEM’s posture and commitment to supporting the localities in whatever way is needed. FEMA Region III is also leaning forward with an Incident Management Team plugged in at VDEM. The State EOC in Richmond is at full activation and will remain so through the weekend.
The second call with VDEM which just concluded involved a storm update from the National Weather Service. Hurricane Ian is moving out away from Florida and should soon start turning northward. The concern is if Ian continues to move eastward which could result in a track further north along the coast, that will bring the storm closer to our area. That’s not the forecast, but also not out of the realm of possibility. If the track of the storm were to change and make landfall again over Wilmington, NC, instead of Georgia / South Carolina, then we can expect more severe impacts.
The NWS will soon put out an advisory for our area regarding winds. It may come in the way of a wind advisory or a Tropical Storm-Force Wind product, but the bottom line is the forecasted winds and gusts have increased and are now expected to peak around 35mph sustained and gusts in the low 50mph range tomorrow. The Hourly Graph shows this increase in the winds should begin around 11 am and last at least through midnight. It is also during this time (Friday night into Saturday morning) when tornados could potentially develop. We have been briefed by Dominion Energy who already has crews and contractors in the area and are ready to respond. We meet with them again tomorrow at 1 pm.
Rainfall is forecasted to lock in our area around noontime as well. This forecast has fluctuated and we’re now looking at an incident total of 4-6” to fall tomorrow afternoon into Saturday, then after a break again late Sunday into Monday. They report that Saturday may not be as wet (from rain) as originally thought and may instead experience some scattered showers.
The tides remain something we’ll continue to track closely. Friday’s high tide JUST NOW crept up to 5.6’, the Moderate level, peaking at 12:56 pm (around the same time the winds and rain increase in intensity). Of course, while it peaks at 12:56 pm, there is build-up and recession of the water for a few hours on both sides of that time. As the water decreases, it should still be around 5.4’ Minor Flood Stage at 2 pm, 4.6’ around 3 pm, and out of any flood action level by 5 pm. This is good for rush hour traffic, but something to consider with schools letting out and homeward-bound students. We will certainly keep an eye on this. The NWS warned during the call these forecasted levels could actually get bumped up a little higher and that might be what we’re seeing. For our friends in NPS, using TITAN to assess what the roadways could look like and adding a buffer to account for the additional rainfall, it appears the buses will be just fine – we’ve seen these levels many times before. Likewise, vehicles should be able to get around as well (and we recommend using the WAZE app). If there are any areas of concern, let me know and I’d be happy to look them up.
Speaking of the WAZE app, Communications will be putting out messaging tomorrow regarding this Resilience-led partnership which works like a champ! We highly recommend folks use it when moving around the city and encourage others to do the same. This provides everyone a more real-time picture of what the roadways may look like (is it blocked from flooding or not?) at any given time.
There are no resources requested or unmet needs at this time.
We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to send them along with any requests to EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov
We will continue to monitor and keep you informed.
Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response