NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Crews in Newport News and Hampton are making final preparations as Hurricane Isaias makes its approach.
They were out on Friday doing some last-minute preventive maintenance.
In Newport News, Public Works crews started conducting preventive maintenance efforts throughout the city earlier this week, particularly in areas known for nuisance flooding.
Public Works Stormwater crews inspected the storm drain system and clearing debris as needed. Construction sites were secured to prevent loose materials from becoming projectiles. Generators for traffic lights, pump stations, city buildings, and water treatment facilities were inspected and fueled. Debris clearing equipment (e.g., chainsaws, excavators, front-end loaders, etc.) is ready.
They encourage residents to visit their website for more information.
Newport News Waterworks is also monitoring reservoir levels and has prepared its facilities for potential impacts.
"We're taking a proactive approach," acting assistant director of Newport News Public Works Operations Hubert Benthall said. "We practice throughout the year so it's not a wait for an event to happen, to ensure that when situations come up we are prepared."
Hampton Public Works Director Jason Mitchell said Public Works is in full storm mode and has been preparing for any effects that we may get from the storm. They will continue working through the weekend to prepare their personnel and systems and will be ready.
In addition, the Emergency Management department is closely monitoring the storm and communicating with the city leaders, the state, and other localities in the region. They have developed a plan to open the Emergency Operations Center, but with key operational departments and other departments coordinating in other off-site locations reporting in. Others will participate virtually so there are fewer people on-site to ensure social distancing.
Business owners are also keeping an eye on the storm. Felicia Fitzhugh is the manager at Pet Zone in York County. They're preparing just in case.
"Having the pet store, we have to get the generators ready. Our biggest concern are the fish tanks. If the electricity goes out, we have to worry about the animals," Fitzhugh said.