Crews and homeowners in Hampton Roads prepare for tropical storm-force winds & rain

flowers and cold snap
Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 20:45:50-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Sheilia Williams is in the market for another tree to replace the one she recently cut down in her Portsmouth yard after it became a hazard.

“Every time we would have some bad weather, branches would come down and I was getting to a point where [I was like], 'Is that thing going to come down one day?'” Williams said.

That’s the fear as tropical storm-force wind gusts, heavy rain and snow are expected to roll through the area. It’s a combination that has road crews on high alert.

Drew Lankford, the media and communications person with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Works, said crews have been out prepping all day Friday and keeping an eye on low-lying areas.

“We do send crews that check out the drains,” Lankford said. “We have to check the pump stations. They're going around with the vacuum trucks to some of the trouble areas and make sure that area is clear.”

At McDonald Garden Center in Virginia Beach, workers are prepping, too. They’re bringing some 6,000 plants inside.

Mike Westphal, the unofficial garden guru at the garden center, said the cold snap could kill some flowers, such as daisies, if they’re not protected with a cloth to keep the heat in.

“Snow is actually good; snow is actually a natural insulator, so it actually protects the plant. The wind is what actually takes the moisture out of the leaf,” said Westphal. “If the leaves wilt, don't go water it. They have plenty of moisture in the soil; it'd be perfectly fine. Adding more water can cause more problems.”

If the plant does start to die, don’t panic.

“If the foliage does get burnt up, you can always cut things back,” Westphal said. “You can always cut things back, so you can give it a light little shear, cut it back and let it regrow from there. It should be perfectly fine because the root system most likely will be protected.”

It’s not just this weekend where people have to watch for falling temperatures. Westphal said frost, which can hurt some plants, could form up until April 15 or later.

Related: Newport News Emergency Management leaders share tips on how to stay prepared ahead of this weekend's wild weather