Emergency Preparedness and Response

Emergency Preparedness & Response

The Department of Emergency Preparedness and Response consists of two divisions which are also the central point of contact for Emergency Management and Emergency Communications (911).

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Mar 03

Team Norfolk Nor'easter Update 3-3-18 at 1:45pm

Posted on March 3, 2018 at 1:49 PM by Jim Redick

Team Norfolk,

The following comes from the National Weather Service in Wakefield:

Attached is our latest briefing for the Nor'easter that has been affecting the local area, with lasting impacts over the weekend. The worst conditions will be found across immediate coastal locations. Winds currently gusting up to 35-45 mph will continue to decrease through the remainder of the weekend. Near minor tidal flooding is also possible along the lower Bay and Atlantic Ocean, with the highest water levels (up to 1 foot above normal) expected during high tide from this evening through Sunday afternoon. Seas will build as high as 9 to 15 feet by Sunday.

This will be our last briefing for this event. Please keep up with the latest forecast on our website (weather.gov/Wakefield).

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As forecasted, the worst of the winds have passed, but we’ll still see some higher gusts throughout the day (click here for hourly winds forecast).

The constant winds have had an impact.  Current (as of 1:10pm) number of power outages in Norfolk are 1,493 out of 100,113 customers. An outage percentage of 1.5.  Dominion Energy reports 500 additional out-of-state restoration workers will join the 3,000 Dominion Energy employees and contractors already engaged in storm restoration. Remember to please stay clear of downed lines and report to 866-366-4357.

Norfolk 911 reports moderate call volume; no more significant storm related events.  Regarding the calls and observations received during the height of the winds, the amazing crews from Norfolk Recreation, Parks and Open Space (RPOS) have been engaged in response efforts and will have all emergency downed tree cleared up by this afternoon.  When the work week commences on Monday the crews will be handling non-emergency storm clean-up like fallen limbs, hangers and other tree debris in parks, medians and school grounds.

The Tide chart shows another decrease in the forecasted high tides.  Still, there will be flooding expected, particularly during Sunday morning’s 10:49am high tide which may impact worship and recreational activities scheduled around that time.  Again, TITAN (Tidal Inundation Tracking Application for Norfolk) is available to getter a glimpse of how flooding could impact your activities.  REMEMBER!!! The forecast tide level is referencing a different datum than NAVD88 which TITAN uses.  Therefore, when entering the flood layer, go with a foot lower in TITAN that what is reflected in the tide chart.  In other words, with a tide of 4.5’, enter 3.5’ for a more accurate view.


Because the likelihood of flooding exists, Norfolk is currently under a
Coastal Flood Advisory from today at 4pm until tomorrow, March 4 at 5pm.


Norfolk Alert: Many folks have received alerts pertaining to Coastal Flood Warning – in fact, multiple alerts.  Please accept our apology and allow me to explain.  Quick background: a few months back we were able to work with the provider of Norfolk Alert, Everbridge, to automatically push certain weather-related warnings to our community.  In other words, based on the warning, we were able to remove the additional time of human interaction so our community would receive warnings as soon as they were sent by the National Weather Service.  Once the issue of multiple / duplicate alerts were brought to our attention yesterday, Emergency Management Deputy Steven Pyle researched the
specifics became aware that whenever the alert area, time or type (advisory/watch/warning) was modified by NWS for Norfolk or any surrounding locality, it was getting pushed automatically by Everbridge to our system and subsequently all of the internal personnel and external subscribers. For example, yesterday the Coastal Flood Warning area was extended to Chesapeake and the original alert was sent out again to the entire area that was now under the alert. 

When it comes to external subscribers, they do have the option to choose which delivery paths they want to receive alerts. In the case where one does not want to receive phone calls, they can choose not to have it come to that delivery path. Also, if a subscriber/user does not confirm they received the message, it will continue to ping the delivery methods in the order to which they chose during the initial registration process. If a subscriber wants to edit any of their settings, they will have to sign into their account. 

Bottom line: we are committed to ensuring our community receives the most immediate, action-oriented messages in times of emergency.  The silver lining I see is the error occurred on the side of safety – too many messages than not enough!  At the same time, we understand too many messages has a dangerous way of watering down its effectiveness to the point alerts will be ignored.  Therefore, we are currently working with Everbridge on the possibility of any updates following an original alert only if specific to Norfolk (and not other localities). 

Again, please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.

Thank you!!

Jim

Jim Redick
Director, Norfolk EOC