This afternoon we had a conference call with the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management followed by an internal discussion with City Manager Pat Roberts and team. During the State call, it was announced the Governor had declared a State of Emergency for Virginia. More than anything, this is an administrative trigger allowing state resources to be pre-positioned to better respond to any needs. One resource in particular should be the National Guard and swift-water assets capabilities. We’ve made no such request, but it’s good to know they’ll be around if the situation changes.
We should already know the impacts, if any, of this afternoon’s peak high tide. The NWS mentioned this tide may not be as high as originally forecasted, but the overnight tide (3 am.) is still expected to be well into the Moderate Flood stage due to the timing and strength of the N/E winds.
Currently, the pedestrian swing gate in front of the battleship Wisconsin is closed. Public Works has coordinated the closure of Mason Creek as well. They will continue to monitor tide levels to determine if / when other floodgates need to be closed.
As it pertains to parking safe havens for residents in low-lying areas, the Brambleton Lot has been added to the York Street Garage for free parking. I’ve also been advised that our friends at ODU have made available the Constant Center 43rd Street Garage just south of Chartway Arena for our residents to park their vehicles to avoid forecasted moderate to major tidal flooding this weekend. GO MONARCHS!! The garage is located at 1067 W 43rd Street and is open for public parking effective immediately until 5:00 pm Sunday. The clearance for the first floor is 8’2”; the upper floor is 6’9”. At this point, the accommodations should meet the need; however, Ray Stoner and the Parking Division will monitor City garages this evening and weekend and if the inventory of free spaces gets close to reaching capacity, they will make additional garage space available and communicate it at that time.
The Hourly Graph provides an excellent snapshot of the periods of elevated winds – particularly overnight and tomorrow – as well as the likelihood of rain through 6 pm tomorrow evening. The NWS shared their concern regarding ground saturation which could very well contribute to downed trees with the elevated wind gusts of up to 50 mph. Additionally, our area has a slight risk of tornados tonight. Whichever the scenario, Parks and Recreation and the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office remain at the ready to address any wooded or green debris on the roadways once this storm passes.
Should there be power outages of any duration, we’ll respond appropriately knowing we’re in a very good place temperature-wise. Temps are expected to remain in the 60’s – 70s at least through Wednesday.
From our friends at HRT: Service on the Elizabeth River Ferry will be suspended all day Saturday. All other HRT services will operate on their regular schedule, but customers are advised to expect delays and impromptu detours with bus routes. Updated information will be made available online at gohrt.com or via Customer Service at 757-222-6100.
City Manager Mr. Roberts announced any City of Norfolk employee in a non-essential status may request to use appropriate leave for the remainder of their shift, as of noon today. Libraries and Recreation Centers will be closed tomorrow (Saturday). CSB services resume as normal with additional outreach among those most vulnerable to the inclement conditions.
The Emergency Management team will continue to monitor conditions, send updates, and receive reports, but there is no physical EOC activation currently scheduled at this time. No local emergency declaration and no shelters. Conditions and strategies will be reassessed at 7:30 am.
Lastly, please capture and send pictures! To borrow the adage, “If there are no pictures, it never happened…” Your pictures help to tell Norfolk’s story and the incredible work performed by the teams!