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Lynchburg declares local state of emergency ahead of hurricane; 'be vigilant'

(AP)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Lynchburg officials have declared a local state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence.

The City of Lynchburg is warning residents to prepare for the potential effects that could come from the hurricane.

Be prepared for heavy winds, rain, and potential flooding as a result of the hurricane that is headed toward the east coast.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management said Florence may be Virginia's most significant hurricane event in decades and Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm's impact.

Lynchburg officials say to prepare now for the storm that is expected to hit Thursday and Friday -- make sure you have your hurricane preparedness kit.

Do not wait until Thursday or Friday to gather items or to check on relatives.

Also, fire and police officials are asking you to stay home once the hurricane lands in Virginia and to not go outside to take photos.

There will be barricades up as the impacts from the hurricane start to happen, officials ask you to not drive around them or move them. Some barricades will be pre-positioned to block certain streets that may be prone to flooding.

Also, do not drive through standing water.

There is an expectation for power outages -- avoid downed power lines and downed trees. AEP will be on standby in the case of downed trees and power lines.

Recent heavy rains have resulted in the ground already being water logged and will set the stage for potential flooding, especially in low-lying areas of the city.

If evacuations are ordered, do your best to comply as there is no guarantee you can get emergency help if you choose not to leave.

You may call 911 for emergencies and 211 for non-emergencies.

Lakeside Drive will be closed Wedensday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.to remove debris and to prepare that area for the storm.

If needed, shelter will be available at the Salvation Army on Park Ave, but it is not yet open.

You can call 1-800-RedCross for any information on shelters for relatives in other areas in the path of the storm.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for Lynchburg Alerts, the City’s emergency notification system online.

All Virginia localities are being advised to prepare for possible flooding, downed trees and power interruptions.

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