The damage of Hurricane Florence's path over
"The only fortunate thing about this storm was it allowed us to prepare," said
That day, the county's emergency management division held a meeting, taking stock of equipment and deciding what would need to be done to buckle down ahead of the storm. The following day, a similar meeting was held and approximately 75 representatives the county's public and private school systems, fire departments, utilities companies and more attended.
Meetings were also held at the city level.
"Creating the EOC and creating a coordinator for all of our emergency preparedness, I think, was key for us," he said.
"We've been preparing for things like this for well over a year and getting our staff prepared to coordinate our efforts. Having that is what made us prepared," Craver added.
"We had everybody on call and in place," said Lexington City Manager
"If we didn't have the electrical system, it would be much easier (to prepare)," he joked.
In the days that followed,
By Friday, the storm had made landfall directly over
The power outages began Friday as increasingly strong winds took down older and weaker trees. Due to the preparation, however, power crews were quickly responding to and repairing outages. By Sunday, though, crews, both on the utility and emergency services sides, began to be overwhelmed by the number of calls coming in.
Hanes estimated the strongest hours of impact on
"Setting up that hurricane protocol just allows us to take or relieve some of that pressure off the 911 Center," he said.
By late Monday morning, the clouds had parted and the sun began poking its way out over the county. Tree limbs were down across yards, foundations had crumbled and students were kept home. Large trees still lay across roadways, pulling down power lines. Floodwaters had begun to recede in the low-lying areas of the county, but it would be midweek before all the county's roads reopened.
"We really were very blessed. Our cleanup afterwards was substantial, but it was really on par with what we had from some of our severe thunderstorms," Craver said of the impact in
"For us, I don't think it was anything extraordinary," Carson said of the storm's damages within the
To view our photo gallery from the storm, click here.
By the numbers
The county, as well as the cities of
These 260 incident calls included downed trees, downed power lines, flooded streets, vehicle rescues, home flooding, and alarm calls due to power outages.
As far as road closures,
Roads remained closed well into Tuesday as crews worked to clear trees or restore power and due to the flooding of the
Hanes reported that five vehicle rescues were conducted by
The rainfall also caused the
A home on Happy Hill Court also had its foundation begin to crumble as the floodwaters set in. Firefighters responded to the scene Sunday night, shutting off the gas and power to the home.
Throughout the entirety of the storm, more than 3,000
No significant injuries were reported during
Preparing for the future
For future storms, the county is hoping to make some improvements in preparation and communication with residents.
While Hanes applauded the staff of the emergency operation center, the
"It's about our citizens, and we want to be sure we can provide them the best services in these emergencies," Hanes said. "We need to maintain that communication and situational awareness."
According to Hanes, county shelters are typically set up for the aftermath of the storm rather than as a preemptive move. Sharing this information more directly with residents through the CodeRED system could help ease public concerns, he explained.
The emergency management coordinator also said he hopes this information will encourage more residents to sign up for the system.
Craver also commended the efforts of his emergency management team, but agreed that more practice is needed.
"We've still got a little more practice to do with
Carson said his team debriefed after the storm and no specific changes for future storms are sought at this time.
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