Tropical Storm Isaias is moving up the East Coast, generating a wide array of warnings and watches in its path. Stafford County is under a flash flood watch – with three to six inches of rain forecasted, a coastal flood watch – with two to three feet of inundation above ground level, and a tropical storm warning with significant rain and wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour at this time. According to the National Weather Service, a Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding and river flooding.
Stafford County is asking residents to take the time and evaluate their situation now, both for this storm and for any future emergencies. While Stafford County is making needed preparations for the storm, our public safety agencies are ready to assist our citizens in any way they need.
For those who lived in the area during Hurricane Isabel, which was a tropical storm by the time it hit Stafford, you may remember that many people were without power for several days, stores and gas stations only took cash and generators were impossible to find. Today is the day to make sure you have enough nonperishable food, medicine, batteries, flashlights and water to shelter in place for three days if needed. It is also wise to have cash on hand, a full tank of gas, make sure all your electronics are charged, and that you have a car charger for your phone.
Residents may sign up for StaffordAlert at www.staffordcountyva.gov/staffordalert to receive up-to-the-minute information via phone, text and email. The Office of Community Engagement is continually updating information on Stafford’s website and social media sites (on Facebook@staffordcountygovernment and Twitter@staffordvagov). Residents who have non-emergency calls are asked to call (540) 658-8600 during business hours, or (540) 658-4450 after hours, to leave 911 open for emergencies.
As in any storm, citizens should remember not to drive or walk through floodwaters – six inches of moving water can knock down a person, and a foot of water can sweep away a vehicle. Report downed power lines to the appropriate power company. Please visit www.ready.gov for useful information on preparing a family emergency plan, a preparedness kit and checking your insurance coverage.