Winston-Salem, Forsyth County agencies prepare for Hurricane Irma

September 08
20:42 2017

Although it’s still uncertain what path Hurricane Irma will take over the weekend, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County officials are urging residents to take precautions and prepare for the worse.

During a press conference held earlier Friday, Sept. 8,  at the Winston-Salem Public Safety Center, representatives from several local agencies – including the local department of transportation, fire department, police department, emergency services, and several others – discussed how they plan to handle possible flooding and other issues Irma could bring to the area.

Mel Sadler, emergency management director, said despite the uncertainty, local agencies are ready for whatever may transpire over the next few days.

The Category 5 hurricane made landfall on the islands of the Caribbean on Wednesday, Sept. 6 and is expected to reach parts of Florida sometime today or early Saturday morning. The powerful storm is expected to reach the Carolinas late Sunday evening or early Monday morning, bringing heavy downpours of rain and wind to the Triad area. The path of the storm continues to change.

“We’re not sure of the direction or the exact arrival time or if it will arrive at all in this particular area but we wanted people to be aware that preparations are being made,” said Sadler. “We want to ask everyone who are citizens of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to do three things. We want everyone to have an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan, and stay informed.

“Through the media, social media, or whatever means you have available to you, stay informed this weekend,” Sadler said.

Department of Transportation Assistant Director Randy Britton shared what his agency has been doing to prepare for Irma. He said the thing they focus on most is making sure the streets and sidewalks are clear. In order to do that, he said, over the past few days they have been checking storm water systems to make sure they are free of all debris so water flow freely off the roads.

“We’ve intensified our efforts. On a daily basis we have five crews that are dedicated to making sure those drains are open and water can flow through them,” said Britton. “We’ve taken all our resources short of those emergency situations to make sure those openings are flowing.”

Utilities Director Courtney Driver said generators at the three water treatment plants have been fueled and are ready in case there are power outages. She also mentioned the agency has six days of water stored in case of a shortage or emergency situation.

“Since our water system was designed and built to the highest standard, I have high confidence in the system and the ability to continue to provide water to our customers in the event the storm hits this area,” continued Driver. “We are well prepared and ready.”

Forsyth County Emergency Services Director Dan Ozimek said to meet the possible increase of  calls, his department has scheduled increased staffing at the 911 Communications Center, EMS (Emergency Management System) and ambulances. Ozimek said they also plan to strategically place additional ambulances and fire units in various locations across the county to help with response times.

Robert Owens,  Winston-Salem Fire Department assistant chief of operations; Vince Rega, Winston-Salem Police Department special division lieutenant; and Forsyth County Sheriff Bill Schatzman also said they have upped their staffing to prepare for Irma as well.

How to prepare for Irma: see

Below is a list of the most flood-prone streets across Winston-Salem

POSTED: Friday, Sept.  8, 2017

From the City of Winston-Salem Marketing and Communications Department

Below is a list of the most flood-prone streets across the City of Winston-Salem as determined by Ready Forsyth, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management and the Winston-Salem Fire Department. These 24 locations are the most likely to require barricades and barrels–and sometimes detours–for drivers when heavy rain hits.

Three areas along Business 40 and Silas Creek Parkway are maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), while the other 21 are handled by the city Department of Transportation (DOT).

  1. Indiana Avenue at 28th Street
  2. Bethania Station Road at Bethabara Park Boulevard
  3. Reynolda Road at Bethabara Park Boulevard
  4. 6300 Bethabara Park Blvd. at Beacon Drive
  5. Shattalon Drive at Bethania Station Road
  6. 800 Reynolda Road at Northwest Canal Drive
  7. 108 Shady Blvd.
  8. 3300 Linda Cir.
  9. 9000 Old Town Dr.
  10. 4400 Mill Creek Road
  11. South Main Street at Salem Avenue
  12. 2400 Old Greensboro Road at Kinard Drive
  13. 4709 Tolley Creek Dr.
  14. 100 Hawthorne Road at 1st Street
  15. 4100 N Patterson Ave.
  16. 2800 Marguerite Park Dr. NW
  17. 2700 Caraway Ln.
  18. 300 Robbins Rd.
  19. Northwest Boulevard at Thurmond St.
  20. 100 Queensbury Road
  21. Phillips Bridge Road at Muddy Creek

Below Are Maintained By NCDOT

  1. Silas Creek Parkway at Hanes Mall Blvd
  2. US 421 (Business 40) at Knollwood Street
  3. US 421 (Business 40) at Silas Creek Parkway

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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