Isle of Wight declares local emergency

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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Some residents now under evacuation order


County Administrator Randy Keaton declared a state of local emergency for Isle of Wight on Monday evening during a special called meeting of the Board of Supervisors, held to discuss preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Keaton’s declaration authorizes the county to begin purchasing whatever equipment or supplies it will need to prepare for the storm, bypassing normal procurement procedures. The board ratified Keaton’s declaration in a unanimous vote.

According to Andrea Clontz, Isle of Wight County’s emergency management coordinator, Florence is

expected to bring at least 7 to 10 inches of rain to Virginia based on current statewide projections. Specific projections of total rainfall by county were unavailable as of the time of the meeting.

At approximately 6:50 p.m., Gov. Ralph Northam issued an evacuation order for areas of Virginia in Zone A of the Tidewater area, parts of which are in Isle of Wight County. According to Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson, Zone A is primarily in low-lying areas along the portions of the county near the James River. Zone A also includes portions of Smithfield that border the Pagan River.

Robertson added that in light of the evacuation order, the county will open its emergency shelters, but an exact date and time has not been determined yet. The county’s two emergency shelters are Smithfield Middle School and Windsor High School.

The county also plans to relocate much of its staff to an emergency operation center, but no date and time has been set for that either as of yet.

When asked what preparations are being made for residents of the county who live in mobile homes, Robertson said that the county plans to treat these residents the same as those living in low-lying areas.

“We will advise them to seek shelter depending on weather conditions either at one of the county’s emergency shelters or with a friend or family member in a safer location,” he said.

As to how residents will be notified of storm updates and information on evacuations/shelter availability, Robertson said the county plans to use social media, the county’s website, its PEG cable channel and local media.

For residents under an evacuation order, Robertson said the best route to take will depend on location.

Clontz said that Florence is expected to make landfall in North Carolina between Wilmington and Surf City as a category 4 hurricane.

As for the County Fair, which was scheduled to begin this Thursday, Keaton will make a final decision on Tuesday as to whether to still hold the event.