Richmond city offices closing early in anticipation of Michael | Weather

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Richmond is closing its government offices at 3 p.m. in anticipation of the effects of Tropical Story Michael.

Mayor Levar Stoney has ordered a partial activation of the Emergency Operations Center, effective at 3 p.m. at the Richmond Ambulance Authority on 2400 Hermitage Road.

“I urge all residents and city employees to exercise caution and common sense,” Stoney said in a statement. “This has the potential to become a significant weather event. The city will be prepared, and I urge all of you to be prepared, be smart and stay safe.”

Northam declares state of emergency in preparation of Michael

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the impacts from Tropical Storm Michael.

“As Tropical Storm Michael turns to the Commonwealth, I want to urge all Virginians to prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical storm force winds, tornadoes, and power outages,” Northam said in a 1 p.m. press release. “I am declaring a state of emergency in order to provide state assets to Virginians and to assist our neighbors in states who are dealing with the devastating effects of this historic storm.”

He added: “My thoughts are with all those along with the Gulf Coast and my administration will continue our outreach to governors and state agencies where Hurricane Michael has produced widespread damage.”

Virginia Capitol Police said Thursday afternoon that executive branch state agencies in the region are closing at 2 p.m. The state capitol and the Pocahontas Building are also closing then, the latest closures in preparation for the weather.

Most Richmond-area school districts are sending students home early and have canceled after-school activities with the expected severe weather.

No school district has canceled school for Friday, as of 1 p.m. Thursday.

VDOT crews ready to respond to Michael

The Virginia Department of Transportation is advising travelers to possibly adjust their travel plans as the Richmond region braces for the effects of Tropical Storm Michael.

In a press release Thursday afternoon, the department said it is “finalizing preparations” and has crews ready to respond to possible damage and unsafe road conditions. Heavy rain and wind gusts are expected to hit this afternoon.

VDOT trams are clearing drainage facilities, preparing trucks and coordinating for additional debris and tree removal crews to be on stand by, the department said.

The department offered these travel tips:

  • If a traffic signal is out, drivers are advised to treat the intersection as a four way stop.
  • Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
  • Never drive around barricades.
  • Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause you to lose control and hydroplane.
  • Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
  • In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
  • Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or Dominion Virginia Power.
  • If involved in a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

Most Richmond-area school districts are sending students home early and have canceled after-school activities with the expected severe weather.

No school district has canceled school for Friday, as of 12:45 p.m. Thursday.

Richmond Folk Festival organizers say tents can withstand Tropical Storm Michael’s winds

The Richmond Folk Festival is planning for the weather. Organizers aren’t concerned about the festival tents as much as the signage.

“The large tents that we use to cover the stages are quite sturdy and rated for much higher winds than we’re anticipating,” Lisa Sims, executive director for Venture Richmond, said. The festival tents are rated for 80 mph winds and up, while anticipated overnight winds are expected to gust at their highest at 50 mph.

Organizers will be pulling down a significant number of signs and graphics that might be less stable and will put them back up on Friday after the storm passes. They’re also adding weights to smaller tents as needed.

Staff will be on site late into the night on Friday to keep an eye on things. Ground issues will be addressed after the weather passes.

“We’re confident we have taken every precaution we can to minimize risk,” Sims said. “The good news is that we will have plenty of time tomorrow to get the festival up and running for Friday evening.”

2018-10-11 18:45:45

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