****UPDATE: A Tornado Watch was issued for Orange County until 9 p.m. Thursday. A Flash Flood Warning is in effect for Orange County until 6:30 p.m. Thursday.****

Chapel Hill crews have been taking steps to prepare for the remnants of Hurricane Michael that are forecast to bring heavy winds and rain to central North Carolina Thursday.

Community safety spokesperson for the town Ran Northam said on Wednesday afternoon that the town was working through “normal operations” to prepare for the storm, “fueling up chainsaws, fueling up generators, making sure we have enough fuel for vehicles.”

Northam added the town would be monitoring flood-prone areas, including Booker and Bolin creeks. Many of those areas saw significant flooding damage from Hurricane Florence last month. Northam said the preparation for Florence had the town “ahead of the game” in terms of clearing debris that could slow drainage.

Some of the weaker trees also came down during Florence, Northam said. He added that town crews removed limbs from at least one tree on Boundary Street because “it looked dangerous.”

Northam said a concern for the town was that residents “might underestimate” the intensity of Michael as it passes through Orange County. During heavy winds and rain like Michael is expected to bring, “bad things can happen,” he said.

The town will establish some emergency operations on Thursday, according to Northam, but he said it would determine how far to elevate those efforts – to establishing a call center or shelters – once more is known on the severity of the storm and the community need.

Photo via Blake Hodge