People from our hometowns helping with tropical storm Ophelia

Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 9:38 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - People in Roanoke are starting to see the impacts of tropical storm Ophelia.

Although Saturday has been filled with rain, those along the shore in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach are receiving greater hits.

To prepare for this state of emergency, Community Outreach Coordinator for Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Brian Clingenpeel says they have deployed a team to help.

“We have nine people from Roanoke County Fire and Rescue, who are swift water technicians. And they have deployed as a part of that division six-team,” explains Clingenpeel.

30 members from several departments across our area went to the east coast.

Clingenpeel says all units and stations are still fully staffed.

“I think the original forecast was for the weather to be much worse in the eastern half of the state than the western half of the state. So since our area was not anticipated to be greatly impacted, we had resources such as boats and swift water technicians that probably wouldn’t be needed,” adds Clingenpeel.

As of Saturday morning, George Porter with AEP said around 3,000 homes were without power due to inclement weather.

“Right now, we are working to restore power. But for the most part, we’re trying to let it pass through, let the heart get through,” emphasizes Porter.

Porter says the main priority is safety.

“If you haven’t had a power outage, you know, skills time to prepare, you know, get your batteries, you can lose your flashlights. If you have a generator, make sure it’s gassed up if you are experiencing an outage right now. Give us a call. Don’t assume that your neighbors or someone in your neighborhood have already called us to let us know,” explained Porter.

Porter understands it’s always an inconvenience to experience power outages. He hopes that everyone can give a little patience.

“You know, as soon as the storm passes through, and we can get out there safely and make those assessments, we’ll start putting those times in to let people know when we expect to have power restored,” added Porter.