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Florence Trends South But Virginia Still Threatened

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Forecast tracks trend Hurricane Florence farther south, delaying and potentially lessening its effects in Virginia.  But there's still potential for serious flooding, especially in central and western Virginia.

Forecasters from the National Weather Service's Blacksburg office, which issues forecasts for much of western Virginia, said Wednesday morning that there is still a great deal of uncertainty.  While Florence continues to trend south, there is still the potential for significant rainfall and flooding along the Appalachian Mountains and Blue Ridge of Virginia and North Carolina.  Forecasters say Virginians should not let their guard down.

In addition to shelters in 24 local localities, the state is opening shelters at Christopher Newport University and the College of William and Mary.  Click here for more information on those shelters.

Governor Ralph Northam says Virginians are heeding to evacuation orders for the most flood prone areas of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.  "It’s actually the flooding that causes the loss of lives rather than the wind.  Obviously we’re paying attention to wind speeds as well," Northam said on WRVA radio Wednesday morning.  "I think people have heeded our warning."

Northam said he has spoken to President Donald Trump and the governor of other states under threat from Florence.  Northam said he believes Trump understands the danger to Virginia and the Carolinas and federal agencies are ready to respond.  Trump approved a federal disaster declaration Tuesday for Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Much of Virginia is still watching forecasts and waiting for the effects of Florence.  Some governments in the western part of the state, like  Roanoke County and Danville, are making sandbags available. 

Some of those areas have already seen repeated flash flooding associated with summer storms.  In the Roanoke area, flash flooding late Tuesday night closed many roads and damaged some businesses in the Franklin Road and Electric Road corridor.  Swiftwater Rescue Crews responded to 16 incidents overnight in the Roanoke Valley.

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