Sept. 10, 2018 - Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4, with winds of 130 mph. It is expected to become a major threat to Virginia and North Carolina. Florence's path continues to be unpredictable, but the storm is large and effects will be felt well beyond the center of the path, with heavy rain, coastal flooding and strong winds.
The National Weather Service office in Wakefield predicted that Hampton residents could begin to see tropical force winds Wednesday night. Current predictions also call for 7-15 inches of rain from the storm.
Trash collection: Solid waste collection in Hampton will be suspended Thursday and Friday. Residents should not take their containers or bulk trash to the curb, where high winds would likely cause them to blow over. Also, rain can carry loose or bagged trash downstream and block storm drains.
Storm tracking: Watching the predicted path of the storm is critical. If it tracks to the northern side of the "cone of error," Weather Service officials said Hampton Roads could see the potential for major tidal flooding, as well as tremendous rainfall.
Impact: Many officials are comparing this storm to 2003's Isabel, which also hit when the ground was saturated. That contributed to the number of trees that fell, blocking roads and taking out power lines. Isabel caused Hampton's second-highest flood level, after the 1933 hurricane. However, Isabel was a tropical storm here, and this has the potential to be stronger.
Florence is expected to stall after making landfall, increasing the likelihood of freshwater rainfall flooding in addition to tidal flooding.
Emergency declarations: Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency late Saturday, and City Manager Mary Bunting declared a local emergency effective Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. Those legal declarations allow the governments to mobilize extra resources and make emergency purchases.
Preparations: Hampton city officials have been monitoring the storm and making preparations. Public Works crews have been out daily since Friday, doing increased maintenance of ditches. Generators are being filled, and all departments are making emergency plans. Shelter officials are making plans in case shelters are needed.
The weather service, and Hampton's Office of Emergency Management, urges everyone to review their hurricane plans and to check their disaster supplies. City Manager Mary Bunting said on Saturday that residents in the two lowest-lying zones (especially Zone A) should consider preparing in case they need to evacuate.
City officials mailed address-specific magnets to Hampton households this summer showing each home's zone (see map). You can also check your zone at www.knowyourzoneva.org. State and local emergency management officials urge residents to:
- Watch the city's social media accounts or sign up for news and emergency alerts at www.hampton.gov/notifyme
- Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
You can go online to learn about creating a disaster supply kit and hurricane preparedness. City officials will continue monitoring the storm through the weekend and into next week.