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September 13, 2018 - City Manager's Message: Hurricane Florence Update/Operational Status for Friday 9-14-18
I am writing to give you the promised update and plans for operations for Friday, September 14, 2018. The 1 pm track shows a turn that brings a lot of the state back into the potential track of the storm. Although our area is not in the direct storm cone, we are very close to the outer edge. As a reminder, the impacts of a hurricane are felt outside the storm track which is why we remain diligent in our local efforts.
As an example, the projected tide impacts went up from the morning brief. At this point, our biggest tide concerns are for midday tomorrow and midday Saturday. The attached chart shows an expected high of 5.8 feet, although the NWS indicated on the call this afternoon that it could change to a high of 6.5 feet. This is considered a moderate level of flooding. During Isabel, we hit a high range of 7.8 - 8.0.
Our area is under a tropical storm warning with the expectation that tropical storm winds (34-74 mph) most likely arriving later this evening. Rain bands will also start to reach us later this evening. The current forecast calls for 2-4 inches of rain through Saturday with some areas higher. We have been told we can expect sustained winds of 25-35 mph with gusts in the 40-50 mph range.
Given the projected winds and moderate level of flooding midday tomorrow, I have decided that we will close city operations for all but our emergency essential personnel on Friday. Human Resources will separately send out a communication for how to manage this day off in the Kronos timekeeping system as well as addressing other questions you might have about the time off.
As a precautionary measure, please check your work areas before leaving today to ensure that all items are removed from the floor or away from windows if necessary to avoid possible wind or water damage. I would like to give a huge shout out to all our employees who have been preparing our city for the arrival of the storm. We have such an amazing team of professionals throughout all of our departments. We are as ready as any city can be! Once the storm has passed, we will assess any damage, determine the need for recovery efforts and identify ways you can assist as needed. For those of you who will be working throughout the event, please stay safe!