Huntington Community Prepares for Hurricane Sandy
Residents are buying supplies, moving their belongings from their basements and preparing for a possible flood.
With Hurricane Sandy heading toward the Mid-Atlantic region, Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency for Virginia. The Huntington and Belle Haven communities are staying informed and preparing in case the area floods as it has in 2006 and 2011 during major weather conditions.
“There is awareness and people are monitoring it,” said Alan Ruof, floodwall coordinator for the Huntington Community Association. “We’ll have to wait it out and see what happens.”
Tom Roltsch, who lives on Farrington Avenue in the Huntington community was preparing for the storm Friday afternoon even though his home is usually not affected by flooding during extreme weather.
“I’m patching up all the holes in the concrete [driveway] and any place in the basement where it leaks, and I put a little extra dirt to keep the water running away from the house,” Roltsch said.
Roltsch said he doesn’t expect a flood, just a lot of rain so he doesn’t want any of the water to get in and harm the basement. Although he’s not too concerned, Roltsch said he wanted to take the necessary precautions to be sure. He said his neighbors, on the other hand, may be having a totally different reaction.
“I imagine the people who live on the other side of that alley back there are in the flood plight and are probably freaking out right now thinking their homes are going to flood again,” Roltsch said.
Joe White, who lives on Arlington Terrace, is right in the flood area and said his family is keeping up with the storm and taking necessary steps before it hits the area.
“We’re just moving stuff out of the basement, and that’s basically all you can do,” White said. “If the water’s going to come, it’s going to come.” Roltsch and White said they plan to vote yes for the Storm Drainage Improvements Bond on Election Day in two weeks.
Harry Shepler, president of the Huntington Community Association, said the organization is doing what they can to pass along information about the storm and safety tips. He said he suspects most people are moving things from their basements to the first level of their homes and will eventually move their vehicles to high ground as well.
Shepler said he expects to see county officials in the area looking at Cameron Run and water levels. He said Hurricane Sandy is even more of a reason to vote for the bond on Nov. 6.
Ruof said residents are passing along information provided by the county through their email listservs to stay informed on what’s going on with Hurricane Sandy. Community members have also taken to Facebook to spread information about how much the storm will affect the community.
Everything from rainfall and wind forecasts to the best places to buy water and flashlights to free mobile apps to get updates about Cameron Run stream flow have also been posted to the Huntington Community Facebook group wall.
County Communication with Huntington, Belle View and New Alexandria Areas
Merni Fitzgerald, director of public affairs for the Fairfax County Government, said in a recent email that they are focusing specific communications to the Huntington, Belle View and New Alexandria areas because they are prone to flooding during extreme weather.
On Thursday, the county sent out a text message to the “Riverwatch” group in the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) informing them of updates about the weather conditions. Fitzgerald said the county encourages those in the Huntington, Belle View and New Alexandria areas to sign up to receive alerts during emergency or major crisis situations.
The county will also reach out to the homeowners association in the Huntington area to make sure they’re properly prepared.
“With the goal of neighbors helping neighbors, we will be contacting the homeowners associations in the Huntington area and pointing them to all the preparedness and flood safety information for them to pass on to their members,” Fitzgerald said.
The county will be just as diligent in keeping the Huntington residents safe during the storm as well. Fitzgerald said they will take necessary precautions if they think the area will flood during the storm.
“And when the storm arrives, if we anticipate structural flooding in the Huntington community, Fairfax County public safety and public works staff will walk through the community to notify residents of the potential for flooding and the need to evacuate to higher elevations,” Fitzgerald said.
County-wide Safety Tips During Hurricane Sandy
Fairfax County is following the storm closely and is providing tips on staying safe during this weekend’s emergency weather conditions. Fitzgerald said the best place to get Fairfax County-specific emergency information, messages and guidance is the Emergency Information Blog.
Fitzgerald also encourages county residents to sign up to receive an email every time the emergency blog is updated. The Fairfax County website also provides safety tips for flooding conditions.
Need to Know Information for Emergencies
- Tree Removal - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/recover/tree-removal.htm
- Flood Safety - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/floodsafety.htm
- FEMA - http://www.ready.gov/floods
- Flood Protection - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater/floodinformation.htm
- Storm Drain Flooding Report Form/Numbers - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/utilities/sdflood_form.htm
- OEM Weather from NWS - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem/weather.htm
- VDOT Video – Driving in the Rain - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDcC_NazB6w
For emergency phone numbers, visit the Fairfax County website.