Hurricane Florence took another left turn overnight Tuesday (Sept. 11) into this morning, which is good news for Northern Virginia and Loudoun County.
Florence remains a Level 4 Hurricane as it takes aim at the Carolinas. Massive waves, winds reaching 130 mph and heavy, prolonged rainfall are forecast from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
Rain remains in the forecast for Loudoun County, with 3 to 4 more inches of rainfall likely before skies begin to clear late Saturday. Scattered showers through Thursday morning are predicted to become thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and all day Friday.
The National Weather Service is also warning that a shift in Florence’s path back toward the north is still possible.
In addition, with rivers and streams already swollen and the ground already saturated, even the updated rainfall forecast is enough to cause flooding around Northern Virginia. In addition, forecast wind gusts as the remnants of Florence move through Loudoun County call for 30 to 40 mph winds. That could result in downed trees and resulting power failures.
Residents were already reporting empty shelves at retailers Tuesday evening with items such as water and generators becoming scarce. There were long lines reported Tuesday night (Sept. 11) at area gas stations as well.
Loudoun County officials already issued a statement encouraging residents to take steps now to prepare for the potential impacts of Florence, especially flooded roadways and loss of power.
“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.”
County officials urged residents to take the following steps::
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.
- 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!
- 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.