(Danville, Va.) — City of Danville departments are mobilizing in preparation of Hurricane Florence, which increasingly is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline, and then track slowly west or northwest.

Steve Dishman, director of the Danville Office of Emergency Management, urges residents and visitors to prepare now.

“You want to make sure you are not scrambling around at the last minute,” Dishman said Monday. “You should have a plan in place on how best to protect family and pets in the event of power outages, flooding and damage from wind, and you should be building a basic disaster supplies kit.”

To assist in preparations by residents in flood prone areas, the Public Works Department will provide sand for public use. The sand will be available at the following locations:

Coates Recreation Center
The recycling area at South Boston Road and Halifax Road.
Old Schoolfield mill parking lot on Bishop Avenue.
Empty lot at corner of Main Street and Memorial Drive.

As of noon today, the National Hurricane Center had upgraded Florence to a Category 4 storm, with 130 mph winds, making it a major hurricane capable of doing “catastrophic” damage.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg this morning reported that the currently projected scenario could result in catastrophic flooding rainfall across the mountains of western North Carolina, western Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

Strong and gusty winds could also impact much of the Blacksburg office’s forecast area, which includes Danville, late this week and into the weekend, and last for a considerable length of time, as well causing damage to trees and power lines.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency late Saturday in order to mobilize personnel and resources for storm impacts, and to speed the response to those communities that are damaged by the storm. This includes resources from Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard and others.

What City of Danville departments are doing now:

Danville Utilities crews are stocking their trucks with any outstanding materials needed. Beginning Thursday, they will be on standby and work 16-hour shifts if necessary.

In addition, Danville Utilities has reserved six contract line crews from Thursday through the end of storm to restore power as needed. It also has reserved additional right-of-way crews to assist with tree trimming activities.

Public Works is topping off fuel sites, and all City vehicles and equipment are being fueled.

Public Works is preparing water pumps for flood prone streets and digital message boards for traffic alerts.

The Community Development Department is preparing for post storm-related damage assessment duties. Staff is reviewing policies in case a declaration of a disaster is prepared. Staff also is reviewing historic event information to make sure that known areas subject to inundation are noted and proper preparations can be made.

The Information Technology Department is prepping the data center for possible flooding. Workstations are being relocated in the event the emergency communications center floods.

What should residents and visitors be doing now:

Pay attention to the development of Hurricane Florence.

Maintain a kit of enough provisions to sustain all residents in a home for at least 72 hours. These kits should include: a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, extra batteries, food that does not need refrigeration, a non-electric can opener (if kit contains canned food), bottled water, first aid kit, prescription medication or other individual needs, and copies of important family documents such as insurance policies and identification.

Consider what unique needs your family might have, such as prescription medications, supplies for pets and additional needs for infants or seniors.

Make sure family members, friends and neighbors are prepared for an extended weather event.

Know the Danville Utilities 24-hour emergency number – (434) 773-8300 – so that it is readily available if needed to report a power outage.