Franklin residents, officials prepare for Isaias

Posted at 9:24 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 22:25:44-04

FRANKLIN, Va. - Mike Smith has lived in the Franklin area for many years.

With Isaias on the move, he's staying optimistic.

“I feel very confident getting through this storm versus others in the past,” Smith said. “I don't believe this one's going to be a bad one.”

No matter what, he's taking precautions.

“Anything that will blow away, tie it down,” he said.

And he isn't the only one. Justin Updyke, who works in Franklin, is also preparing.

“I've actually reached out to a couple of friends, trying to find a backup generator,” Updyke said. “It [the storm] gets a name, then I kind of start paying attention.”

The city is no stranger to named storms, having experienced major flooding before.

Past flooding is one reason why Franklin Police told News 3 it's important for residents to take preparations seriously.

“We have flooded in the past in the downtown area,” Franklin Police Sgt. Scott Halverson said. “Although we haven't had any loss of life, we've had significant property damage.”

In Downtown Franklin, you’d find a marker showing how high water got at that exact spot during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

City leaders told News 3 they're monitoring wind speeds and bringing in staff to respond to any calls for service.

As for river impacts, they said they're not expecting any from the storm.

“The river levels are very low. We've had a very dry summer,” Franklin City Manager Amanda Jarratt said. “We are expecting to receive a large volume of rain in a very short amount of times, so there's certainly always an issue with flash flooding.”

Franklin Police said they've got preps down to a science.

“We've got assets that allow us to go through high water to rescue residents,” Halverson said. “They're the old army trucks and they're very high.”

“We have all assets in place, and if we are to flood, we would be able to get people to safety,” Halverson added.

City officials are also asking people to shelter in place, if possible, due to COVID-19 concerns.

For Smith, he believes it's important to take all steps to stay safe.

“Batten down the hatches, and see you on Wednesday,” Smith said.

Halverson added any resident with questions can call their non-emergency line at (757) 562-8575.

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