The Yadkin County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was on partial activation over the weekend as local officials monitored storm conditions in the county and around the state. Though the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, forecast Hurricane Joaquin to move away from the U.S., heavy rain and flooding was still expected.
Despite the soggy conditions over the weekend, the area was spared any major flooding problems. Yadkin County EMS Director Keith Vestal said most of what they saw during the course of the storm were downed trees and power lines, but nothing major endangering any lives or property.
In the county EOC center, national weather, local weather and the future forecast were all being monitored, as was the web-based Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the entire state. The web EOC allowed EMS personnel to see potential hazards coming. For example, flooding in rivers upstream from Yadkin County would appear on the screen once reported and that would alert Yadkin County officials to be aware of potential flood hazards on the way. Through the web EOC, county officials also could request additional assistance from the state should they need it.
Vestal said this system comes in very handy if the county should experience extreme weather conditions. He said during heavy winter snows a few years ago, they were able to request the use of several National Guard humvees to help transport patients or individuals who were trapped in the snow.
“It gives us a better line to the state and federal governments,” Vestal explained of the web EOC. “Instead of us having to pick up the phone and call for assets or assistance for things it’s just a couple of mouse clicks away and then we are able to track those assets once they are deployed.”
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.