Storm Preparations Continue

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 31, 2006

As Ernesto blazes a trail towards the Commonwealth, area officials are gearing up for the possibility of flooding. Charlottesville Fire Fighters got themselves and their equipment ready on Thursday for a possible flood event. With 10 inches of rain a possibility in our area, everyone is making sure they are prepared.

"Making sure all our equipment is working, saws, putting on extra plastic, nail guns, et cetera to be able to secure peoples homes if they should have any fallen trees," said Charlottesville Fire Department EMS Administrator Linda Johnson.

Charlottesville Firefighters spent the day getting ready for the potentially heavy rains Ernesto could bring. Firefighters tested personal floatation devices and rescue equipment in preparation of high waters. However, they were not the only ones getting ready.

"We're checking chain saws, knuckle boom trucks just in case we have some trees down, barricades with lights, that sort of thing," said Steve Lawson from the Charlottesville City Department of Public Works.

Along with equipment checking, the Charlottesville City Department of Public Works set aside normal street and sidewalk maintenance and focused on clearing storm drains. They say it is labor intensive but very necessary.

"In anticipation of a rain event that is forecasted it becomes very important. We've got a lot of trees in town. The number one factor as far as blocking our structures is tree debris," Lawson said.

"We're making sure our public safety, fire, police, rescue folks are up and ready to go and that we have the resources prepared for that," said Albemarle County Spokesperson Lee Caitlin.

While Albemarle County doesn't have to worry about road maintenance, they say preparing for the unknown is still difficult.

"When you have a range of between five to ten inches...The low end is pretty manageable, the high end is pretty frightening," Caitlin said.

If rain predictions hold true, the James River in Scottsville is expected to crest above flood stage on Saturday afternoon. In response, the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department said they will probably construct the Ferry Street levee.

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