WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Don't wait. Now is the time to plan.
Hurricane Irma could bring strong winds and heavy rain to the Triad.
The city of Winston-Salem is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
City officials are urging residents to have an emergency supply kit and plan in place before the storm.
Officials say it's best for residents to stay informed as Hurricane Irma could possibly hit the Carolinas next week.
"We are closely monitoring the path of the storm and making the necessary adjustments to deal with anything that may come our way," said Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson. "We want to make sure we are doing everything we possibly can to keep our citizens safe."
The city is getting ahead of the storm through the use of emergency preparedness.
Several agencies are working around the clock to ensure citizens stay safe, including Winston-Salem's Emergency Management, Department of Transportation, Fire Department, Police Department, and Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.
The city is concerned the storm could bring major power outages, severe flooding, and structural damage.
"We have intensified our efforts," said Randy Britton, Assistant Director for Winston-Salem's Department of Transportation. "On a daily basis, we have five crews that are dedicated towards making sure those [storm] drainage openings are open and water is flowing freely."
Officials are warning drivers to stay away from floodwaters and watch out for road closures.
"If you do come across a road that has cones across it or barricades, please do not attempt to go around it," said Dan Ozimek, Director for Forsyth County Emergency Services. "You could encounter a downed tree that has not been cleared or power lines that may be live, and high waters."
The city plans on implementing water rescue teams and increasing emergency personnel staffing.
If rescue water operations are needed, officers plan on using a vehicle that can drive in 4 ft. of water and carry about 30 people.
It's still unclear if Hurricane Irma will impact the city of Winston-Salem, but officials are encouraging citizens to take responsibility and plan ahead.
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