Hurricane Irma expected to skirt Williamsburg region

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

Williamsburg area officials are calling for residents to plan ahead for any impacts related to Hurricane Irma. Check back here throughout the day for updates.

Update 10 a.m.

Williamsburg fire chief Pat Dent said he has been monitoring Irma since its infancy.

“As the track of this storm gets close to us where predictions are we may see some impact, we start monitoring a lot closer,” Dent said.

He said he briefed senior staff on Tuesday and took them through the forecast and put together a staffing roster for its emergency operations center in case it needs to be activated.

He said unlike York and James City counties, Williamsburg typically does not have to worry about flooding as much as it does wind and downed trees.

Dent said he updates his staff two to three times per day during the height of a storm.

York County fire chief Stephen Kopczynski, who also serves as the emergency operations coordinator for the county, said he constantly monitors anything which could have a significant impact on the county.

“We’ve watched this progress across the Atlantic from last week before it was named Irma,” Kopczynski said.

When it became apparent the storm could impact the continental United States, Kopczynski said the county started reviewing contingencies, something that happens throughout the year but began in more earnest late last week.

Update 9:45 a.m.

The current National Weather Service forecast calls for Irma, currently a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, to move further west and stay on land once it hits Florida, meaning impacts for the Mid-Atlantic region would be limited to periods of rain Monday night into Tuesday, along with dangerous rip currents over the weekend into next week.

Still, local officials still ask that residents pay attention to the storm, as its track can still change.

Meteorologist Mike Dutter with the National Weather Service’s Wakefield office says the forecast this weekend is for mostly sunny skies and high temperatures in the mid 70s. Any possible storm impact on the region would not be until Monday evening and into Tuesday.

Information:

Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide (Virginia Department of Transportation)

Know Your Zone (Virginia Department of Emergency Management)

Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources (National Weather Service)

JCC Alerts (James City County)

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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