LEXINGTON, N.C. (WFMY) -- With heavy rain and high winds expected to hit Davidson County late Friday night through the weekend, emergency service officials are closely monitoring the storm, prepared to take action with a network of safety officials at the ready.
“We have representatives from all agencies in the room,” Davidson County Emergency Services Director Larry James said. “And there are people that can make decisions and have contact with those in areas that can make things happen.”
“Everyone’s just kind of anxious,” Matt Haynes, the general manager of Conrad & Hinkle in downtown Lexington, said. “I just wish it would come on and do what it’s going to do.”
Lexington Mayor Newell Clark has issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence, which could drop more than 10 inches of rain on the town.
“It’s not something people should be scared of, a state of emergency,” James said. “It is just opening up those avenues for FEMA and for the state, and when the time comes for reimbursement of the cost of an event.”
According to James, the biggest problems threatening Davidson County right now are downed power lines creating power outages and areas that are more prone to flooding.
“We do have some areas that we’re going to keep our eyes on that are flood-prone in the county, and we have a board with those areas identified,” he said. “We have a lot of streams and creeks that will come out of the banks with that much rain. That concerns us and that concerns us for people’s safety. Depending on how fast the rain comes and how fast the water rises, how quickly can the people evacuate their homes?”
As emergency management crews prepare for the storms, some in Lexington said they are not too worried.
“I really, to be honest with you, didn’t even prepare,” Rod Battaglino, the owner of Top Hat Comics in downtown Lexington, said. “I feel we’re far enough from the coast to that it’s really not that big of a deal. We’re going to get some rain.”
But others, like Haynes, said while flooding does not worry him, the possible power outages could wreak havoc on his grocery store, which depends on refrigeration to keep his stock fresh.
“The coolers will hold their temperature for a little while, but if it’s more than that, rules and regulations won’t allow it,” he said. “We have to throw everything away.”
Davidson County emergency services officials do have a shelter in place at Carolina Memorial Baptist Church in Thomasville, according to James, but it is not yet open. James said if officials determine there is a need because of power outages, flooding or damage, they are prepared to open.