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Major Hurricane Florence Threatens
Mandatory Evacuations Issued
By YTCPP Editors, York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and York County Public Information Office

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The East coast of the United States, including York County and Poquoson are facing potential impacts from a storm the strength of which has not been seen in the area in decades.

As of the preparation of this paper on Tuesday September 11, Hurricane Florence is a category 4 storm with peak wind speeds of 130 MPH. The forecast track has Florence moving towards the East Coast somewhere between Norfolk and the southern parts of South Carolina, and then stalling, potentially dumping historic amounts of rainfall to an already saturated area of the country.

Hurricane Watches have been issued from Edisto Beach, South Carolina northward to the North Carolina-Virginia border, with watches and warnings likely to expand as the storm moves closer to the coast. Millions in North Carolina and South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate to escape the storms devastating impacts.

Locally, the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam has activated a mandatory evacuation order for "Zone A” in Virginia. Zone A includes most of Poquoson and Seaford. Other low-lying neighborhoods are also included in York County.  To check on the zone your home may be in go to knowyourzoneva.org

The York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office issued the following statement in response to the evacuation order, answering some common concerns from citizens:

Many people are concerned about the Governor’s Mandatory Evacuation Order. While the Governor may have good intentions by encouraging people to evacuate early, his actions raise many questions.

Will I be arrested for not evacuating?
No person living in York County or Poquoson will be arrested by any York-Poquoson Deputy Sheriff for failing to evacuate. The decision to evacuate is yours. It should not be a decision made by the government. Your decision to stay may be risky and you assume all risk as authorities may not be able to help or rescue.

If I leave, when can I come home?
You have the right to come and go as you please. The York- Poquoson Sheriff’s Office will not restrict the travel of anyone, at least not until the storm has hit and conditions would make it unsafe (such as downed trees and/or power lines, or if conditions exist that necessitate the protection of property to prevent looting or other illegal activity. Restriction of travel is an action of last resort.

Lastly, you are encouraged to stay tuned to local media to stay current on the forecast and how we are likely to be impacted by the tide, wind, and other weather conditions.

York County has declared a local emergency as of Monday at 8:00 a.m., allowing for the county to begin emergency preparations for the storm.

York County Public Information Office released the following information on Tuesday:

In anticipation of the approach of Hurricane Florence and because of the Governor’s order that residents of Zone A begin evacuating beginning 8 a.m. this morning, York County is opening a shelter at Tabb High School, 4431 Big Bethel Road, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12. The shelter is for those individuals who cannot find a safe refuge elsewhere. If possible, residents who evacuate should consider sheltering with family/friends that reside outside of the evacuation zone. Service animals are permitted in the shelter.

In addition, York County is opening three parking lots where residents may take their boats, trailers, motor homes, and other vehicles:
  • The McReynolds Athletic Complex (MAC), 412 Sports Way, 23692
  • Chisman Creek Park, 1314 Wolf Trap Road, 23692
  • Kiln Creek Park, 2901 Kiln Creek Parkway, 23693
York County Sheriff’s deputies will regularly patrol these parking areas. However, the county assumes no liability for loss or damage to these vehicles.

Due to the approach of the storm, and the need for parking areas at these facilities, York County has cancelled all Parks and Recreation activities and rentals until further notice. In addition, the concert scheduled for Friday at Riverwalk Landing and Saturday’s Market Days are canceled. The piers at Riverwalk Landing will be closed beginning Wednesday until further notice.

 





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