City to open emergency shelter at King’s Fork High School

Published 12:11 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

The city will open a shelter at King’s Fork High School due to the expected impacts from Hurricane Dorian.

The shelter will open at 5 p.m. Thursday and is generator powered for residents who are medically dependent on electricity. It is also Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.

Those who choose to come to the shelter should bring enough supplies to last at least two days for each family member. No pets will be allowed unless they are assistance dogs. Those who have pets who are considering coming to the shelter can contact the Suffolk Police Department’s non-emergency number at 923-2350, Option 8.

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The city’s Emergency Operations Call Center, at 514-4570, will be available to take calls from residents beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday  for residents seeking storm-related information. The phone number for non-emergency road-related issues is 514-7600.

Hurricane Dorian is expected to bring rain and wind Thursday as the hurricane continues to move along the U.S. east coast towards Virginia.

According to the noon Thursday update by the National Hurricane Center, Dorian is about 45 miles south-southeast of Charleston, S.C., moving north-northeast at nearly eight miles an hour with maximum sustained wind speeds of 115 miles per hour.

According to the 11 a.m. Thursday update, the hurricane is expected to turn toward the northeast Thursday night, followed by a faster northeastward motion on Friday.

The center of Dorian will continue to move close to the coast of South Carolina Thursday, then move near or over the coast of North Carolina Friday, based on the forecast track.

Suffolk is under both a tropical storm warning and storm surge warning. City Manager Patrick Roberts declared a state of emergency Wednesday evening in advance of any potential impact from Hurricane Dorian.

“A state of emergency declaration ensures that our city will have the appropriate level of assistance and allows us to coordinate with the Commonwealth our response and recovery efforts as it relates to any potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian,” according to the press release.

According to Mike Rusnack, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Wakefield office, heavy rains and strong, gusty winds are expected for Suffolk Thursday night, with the heaviest rain expected Friday morning and afternoon.

Five to seven inches of rain are expected in Suffolk, Rusnack said. A flash flood watch is in effect Thursday night through Friday afternoon, and there will likely be flooding issues and power outages based on the forecast. Hurricane Dorian is then expected to move off the east coast Friday night.

Rusnack also said that there may be thunderstorms in Suffolk Thursday evening that “have the potential to produce quick spin-up tornadoes,” probably after 5 p.m. Thursday and through most of Thursday evening.

The city recommends that residents who live in Zone A, or if they live in a location prone to flooding to consider moving vehicles to higher ground, protecting belongings and possibly moving to higher ground in Zones B, C or D within Hampton Roads.