Saturday, September 23, 2017
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First responders preparing for Irma to arrive

Although they acknowledge the hurricane path could change, Henderson County emergency managers are preparing for Irma to reach the Blue Ridge foothills late Sunday or early Monday, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts of 60 mph or higher.

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“The confidence level on this report today is in the low to medium range,” Hendersonville Fire Chief Joe Vindigni told the City Council Thursday night. “They’re expecting this to change through the next couple of days.” The latest path on Thursday afternoon, though, showed the remnants of Irma moving over Greer, S.C. and into Rutherford County late Sunday or early Monday, “which obviously means we’ll be right in the middle of that path.”

At that point, the storm would have winds of 25-35 mph with gusts of 60-80 mph and a chance of tornadoes. Forecasters predict rainfall of 3 to 6 inches. “Some areas may get more depending on the side of the hurricane,” Vindigni said. “That would be 7-9 inches.”

Henderson County is prepared to open shelters if the storm creates widespread power outages.

The City Council joined Henderson County in declaring a state of emergency effective 12:01 a.m. Friday.

“This storm could impact the citizens of Henderson County, and we are preparing for that possibility early," Emergency Services Director Jimmy Brissie said. "By declaring an emergency at the earliest stages, we are placing our citizens in a position to receive the best possible response. The storm is expected to produce rain in this area of the state, with the possibility of power outages."

For emergency information call (828) 697-4728 or visit www.hendersoncountync.org and click on View Emergency Information. If you have an actual emergency call 911.