Frederick city and county officials believe they are as prepared as possible for any trickle-down effects Hurricane Florence may bring to the region in the coming days.
Patti Mullins, the city’s public relations coordinator, said on Wednesday that emergency management and public works employees are on high alert and ready for excessive amounts of rain and the potential for flash flooding included in the initial forecast. Now, as the predicted impact on the local region dwindles, she said city officials are still not letting their guard down.
“We do feel we are really prepared for whatever may happen,” Mullins said.
To prevent situations like the mid-May storms that brought excessive rain to the area and flooded homes and businesses throughout the city, Mullins said owners are encouraged to clear storm drains around their properties. Officials have said one of the reasons downtown flooded so significantly during that event was because of backups in storm drains.
“The main thing we can do is prevent backups by clearing drains,” she said.
Mullins also said she believes that the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which experienced overflow earlier in the week due to heavy rain over the weekend, is no longer diverting runoff into Carroll Creek. She also said that officials are keeping en eye on the plant to ensure it stays fully operational.
She also encouraged people to stay alert with all the latest information from emergency management personnel and stay current on closed roads and emergency alerts.
Frederick County officials shared similar sentiments at a press conference that County Executive Jan Gardner called on Wednesday.
Gardner encouraged residents to stay on high alert because the ground is already saturated and any added rain will have nowhere to go. She also warned residents about the potential for sinkholes and went through some of the precautions that county officials have taken, including cleaning out pipes, performing pre-storm checks at county facilities, and preparing 4,000 sandbags to prevent flooding.
Frederick County Division of Emergency Management Director Jack Markey said on Wednesday that the storm brewing off the coast of the Carolinas is “historically strong” and “a catastrophe in the making” for those areas.
Fittingly, at the start of a workshop on Thursday, the Board of Aldermen declared September Emergency Preparedness Month in the city. During the presentation of the proclamation, police Capt. Patrick Grossman reminded the public to pay attention to all local, state and national emergency alerts.
“Please take all weather alerts seriously,” he said.
Dennis Dudley, the county’s director of emergency preparedness, also said officials are closely monitoring the weather to ensure residents stay safe in the coming days.