Counties prepping for strong weather

Area counties are preparing for the worst as a nor’easter heads toward the region and Hurricane Joaquin makes its way toward landfall.

The Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services alerted its employees about the possibility they might need to stay over or come back to work to handle emergencies caused by the pending weather, Chief Richard Mabie said.

“We had a fair amount of rain Monday night with some flooding,” Mabie said. “I’m sure, based on what they’re calling for now, even though they aren’t calling for as much as they were earlier, it depends on how fast it comes so … what we plan to do here is, depending on how it goes (today), whether the rain starts off as a drizzle and then increases, we’ll probably hold our on-duty staff over (tonight).”

The Warren County agency also plans to staff its four rescue boats and make them ready in the event of flooding. The department also will send the same information to its volunteer fire and rescue stations in the hopes that the agencies staff the facilities with volunteers, Mabie said.

Warren County hasn’t set up shelters yet but could do so quickly if necessary, Mabie said.

“We’re planning on, hopefully, the best scenario and we won’t need the shelters but certainly we’ll be prepared to staff them if we need (to),” Mabie said. “Again, it depends on the impact, depends on the amount of people we need to relocate, if any.”

The department could house large amounts of people in the schools or smaller numbers at the stations or at local hotels, Mabie noted.

Low-lying areas and roads can flood easily, creating a dangerous situation for motorists. The Virginia Department of Transportation handles flooded roads throughout the county, setting up barricades and detours. Mabie said his agency works closely with VDOT to know which roads and areas flood. The county department will send responders out to check on some areas prone to flooding, Mabie said.

Shenandoah County officials continue to prepare for any potential threats from both the hurricane and the predicted nor’easter that could bring heavy rainfall to the area. Stakeholders affiliated with the Shenandoah County Emergency Operations Center have been alerted and reviewed their responsibilities in the event that the county must put its emergency operations plan into effect. Stakeholders also receive the latest updates on weather and precipitation predictions and remain in contact with the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state agencies.

Shenandoah County also has partnered with CodeRED that allows residents to receive the latest emergency and weather alerts. Residents can sign up at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/BBA40CDC80A1 or follow the Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShenCoFR for updates and tips on how to prepare for inclement weather.

Shenandoah County will set up emergency shelters if needed, Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass said Thursday.

Frederick County provides emergency preparedness information on its website at http://tinyurl.com/pppw95g as well as on Comcast cable channel 16 and its social media sites, Public Information Officer Karen Vacchio said Thursday.

“Here at Frederick all necessary personnel are up to date on the situation and everyone here is closely monitoring the storms and collaborating with the Virginia Emergency Operations Center as necessary,” Vacchio stated in an email.

Frederick County department heads plan to meet this morning for an update on the storms and to discuss possible actions needed for the duration of the situation, Vacchio said. Updates will be held with key staff members as needed until the storms exit the area.

Frederick County also coordinates shelters if and when necessary, Vacchio said. Those plans had not been finalized as of Thursday.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com