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Oct 02

Manager's message: Update on weather conditions

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 12:40 PM by Mary Bunting

I wanted to take a brief moment to update you all on the latest weather information. We just completed a statewide conference call with the National Weather Service. The great news to share is that we are no longer concerned about any direct impacts from Hurricane Joaquin. On Wednesday evening, there was a very real possibility that we could have a direct impact somewhere in the Commonwealth, but the storm has continued a eastward movement and we are now well outside the area of direct impact.

While this means that we will not have catastrophic effects, we are nevertheless planning for peaks of coastal flooding. The rainfall and tidal flooding - especially around high tides - will still be problematic. Rainfall is heaviest in our area now and will continue as we hit high tide in just a few hours. Water levels at the Sewells Point gauge will be in the 6.3 feet /- range. To give perspective to this number, we experience moderate flooding in the 5.5-6.5 feet range.

Rainfall will shift westward later this evening.

The duration of this event will be until Monday, with the next very high level of flooding on Sunday. On Sunday, water levels at the Sewells Point gauge will be in the 6.7 /- feet range. We experience major flooding at the 6.5 feet level. The record level at Sewells Point was 8 feet.

Another real concern for us is the potential of downed trees. With all the rain we have recently had, the ground is saturated and that makes the likelihood of downed trees higher than usual. This is what happened with Hurricane Isabel, which - as you may recall - was only a tropical storm when it actually hit our area. The good news is that latest NWS update suggested that we will only have sustained winds in the 25-30 mph range (with gusts up to 45 mph) which means that projected downed trees is lessened but not eliminated.

Because of the likely flooding of some roads in low-lying areas, Hampton City Schools decided to do an early release today. I know many of you are parents, and this likely presents a challenge for you. Also, many of you live in low-lying areas and may have concerns about making it home shortly after high tide. Accordingly, I am authorizing the use of liberal leave for all non-essential/emergency workers. This, of course, must be coordinated with your supervisor and/or department head.

I hope everyone has a safe, dry weekend. Please take necessary precautions, and make sure you have your family's emergency plan and kit updated if you have not already done so.

Living and working in a coastal city has great rewards, but it also requires we plan and prepare for these types of events. I want you to know that our Hampton emergency team is second to none. We are well practiced and are as prepared as we can be. We will respond swiftly to any conditions that come our way. Our City is in great hands, and you and our citizens should take comfort in this fact.




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