Loudoun County Emergency Management Warns Residents to Prepare Now for Florence

Loudoun County Emergency Management Warns Residents to Prepare Now for Florence

Hurricane Florence is still a several days away from making landfall, but forecasts are calling for at least heavy rainfall for Loudoun County beginning late Thursday or Friday.

Loudoun County officials have issued a statement encouraging residents to take steps now to prepare for the potential impacts of Florence, which is expected to approach the East Coast on Thursday. The storm may result in heavy rain and flooding, high winds and loss of power in Loudoun County.

The map at the top of this story shows rainfall totals (in black area) of between 10 and 15 inches over the five days.

“While this storm is currently expected to make landfall on the Carolinas’ coasts, we should take this storm seriously,” Loudoun County Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Johnson said. “I urge residents not to underestimate the potential impact of Hurricane Florence locally and to take action now to prepare yourself and your families.”

Because Loudoun already has experienced significant rainfall during the past week, area waterways are high and the ground is saturated, increasing the potential impact of additional torrential rains associated with this storm. Here are five things for every resident to know to prepare for the impact of the storm in Loudoun later this week:

Know the Forecast

  • Get the most current forecast from the National Weather Service, which has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook that includes Loudoun County. Follow NWS on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Follow updates on Hurricane Florence on the National Hurricane Center website, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • A Flood Watch means that a flood is possible in the area. A Flood Warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon.

Prepare Your Property: Reduce the Risk of Damage to Structures

  •  If possible to do so safely, clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts before Thursday.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery. Rain-saturated ground increases risk for falling trees. Consult a certified arborist if you need help.
  • If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working and that the outlet pipe is not blocked. If possible, install a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor.

Prepare for Power Outages and Potential Hazards

  •  Fuel and service your vehicles.
  • Use generators in accordance with manufactures directions; remember to run generators only outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio. Keep your cell phones charged.
  • Stock up on batteries, food that will keep, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.
  • Have cash on hand in case power goes out and ATMs don’t work.
  • Review your insurance policy.
  • Check on your neighbors who are older adults to ensure they are prepared ahead of the storm and safe during and after the storm.
  • Make emergency plans for pets.
  • Tips on what supplies to put in your emergency kit are online at www.loudoun.gov/makeakit.
  • Learn more about flooding preparedness at www.loudoun.gov/flood, which includes contact information for local utilities.

Stay Informed

  • Sign up for Alert Loudoun at www.loudoun.gov/alert to receive weather, news and traffic alerts by email and text.
  • Follow Loudoun County Government on Facebook and Twitter.

Turn Around. Don’t Drown!

  • Take 50 seconds to watch this YouTube video—it could save your life.
  • If you come to a flooded roadway, stop and do not cross. It is impossible to determine the depth of the water or the condition of the road under the water. It takes just 12 inches of flowing water to carry off a small car and just six inches of water to knock a person down and carry them away.

Loudoun County has a broad range of resources posted online to help. Visit www.loudoun.gov/hurricane to learn more about hurricane preparedness and visit www.loudoun.gov/ready for four simple steps to prepare for all types of emergencies.

Joseph Dill