Wythe County preps for the impact that tropical storm Florence could bring

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – Wythe County is used to flooding through the area, but officials are taking extra precautions on the arrival of Florence and the impact it could have. 

Lisa Long owns JO JO’s Attic in Wytheville. She says she is grateful that the county has helped protect her antique store from the potential flooding. 

“Actually I was impressed because we couldn't find any sandbags and wanted to put them in the front and back door. And the county officials) they just came in and asked if we could use any help and they placed them at the front and back door,” said Long.

She’s glad the county is not taking any chances against Florence. 

“If there is a catastrophic failure of the Buck or Byllesby Dam, the water that is released there, we do have a time of how long it would take for the water to reach certain areas,” said Curtis Crawford, emergency services coordinator for Wythe County.

“And we have a plan on what we need to do to first announce for the people there and for our people to get in there.” 

People evacuated from the Carolinas are coming to Wythe.
Crawford says that its hotels are at 50 to 75 percent of capacity and the Red Cross is providing a shelter at the Draper Valley Pentecostal Church. 

“We do have floodplain plans that are in place. We did activate at least one of those and that is moving certain mobile or camper units away from floodplains,” Crawford said. 

The county is encouraging all to have an action plan and if you live in a floodplain-- prepare to move out at a moment’s notice.

“The Everbridge system will send out messages to the community about special alerts and if an area is flooding, it will send out to cellphones to let people know to get out,” said Blake Stowers, public information officer for Wythe County.