Florence spares Suffolk

Published 7:58 pm Friday, September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence turned out to be mostly a non-event in Suffolk, causing only a handful of power outages to go with flooding and relatively mild wind and rain.

While the storm caused widespread devastation in North Carolina, even resulting in a few deaths on Friday, Suffolk escaped the worst.

Gov. Ralph Northam lifted the mandatory evacuation of residents in Zone A of Hampton Roads and other areas of the state, effective at 11 a.m. Friday. The city of Suffolk then closed its emergency shelter at King’s Fork High School at 2 p.m. and ramped down the emergency operations center.

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Perhaps the worst side effect of the hurricane for Suffolkians was a water main break on White Marsh Road that affected about 500 residences in the area.

Public Works crews clearing debris from Shingle Creek to allow for proper storm drainage accidentally damaged the water main, city spokeswoman Diana Klink said. It happened in the 1100 block of White Marsh Road.

The break was reported about 9:15 a.m. Friday and affected residents on White Marsh Road from Shingle Creek south, including Davis Boulevard and the communities of Stratford Terrace, Cypress Farms and Parker Riddick Apartments.

An emergency water station was set up for affected citizens at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St. Citizens were asked to bring their own sanitized containers to hold water, and the American Red Cross also donated bottled water to distribute. In addition, the restroom facilities there will be open for citizens to use.

Temporary water service was restored to the area Friday evening, but further repairs are needed Saturday. The repairs will begin at 8 a.m. and take about eight hours to complete, according to the city press release. The water services offered at the recreation center on Friday will again be available on Saturday.

Suffolk Public Schools announced it would be back in session on Monday.

Some city facilities and services were set to resume normal operations at regularly scheduled hours on Saturday.

These included the Suffolk Visitor Center, Tourism, Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, Suffolk Executive Airport, Parks and Recreation facilities, the Suffolk Public Library and Suffolk Transit.

In addition, TFC Recycling announced it would pick up recycling on Monday that it would have picked up on Friday’s route.

Finally, Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday issued an executive order that effectively extends the validity period of Virginia driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, commercial driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by the state that expired Sept. 11-16 until midnight on Sept. 21.