RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Terry McAuliffe on Friday declared a state of emergency and urged residents of the Commonwealth to prepare for impacts from a winter storm system, which potentially could result in significant snow accumulation, hazardous road conditions, and high winds.
The order authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in responding to this major winter storm that is expected to impact the Commonwealth tonight through the weekend.
In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia. A declaration also decreases time and paperwork required to get personnel, equipment and supplies where they are needed. This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses.
“We are strongly encouraging everyone in Virginia to prepare for the possibility of snowfall, especially in Southeast Virginia, where forecasts predict accumulations could exceed 12 inches, as well as dangerous road conditions, power outages, and high winds,” McAuliffe said in a release. “I have been briefed by the National Weather Service and my emergency team, who are tracking this storm and following the potential impacts it could have across much of the state. I urge Virginians to limit travel as the severe weather arrives and follow directions from local and state officials. We hope this storm passes quickly through our Commonwealth, but our top priority must be to ensure the safety of our citizens and their families.”
Wind gusts of up to 35 mph and freezing temperatures are expected. Heavy rain could cause power outages on Saturday.
“VDOT has been pre-treating roads in advance of the storm. We are prepared with crews, equipment and materials and will work throughout the storm to plow roads,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “Driving conditions during the storm are expected to be hazardous and motorists are urged to stay off the roads until the storm passes.”
“In anticipation of this severe winter weather, VDEM, Virginia State Police and Virginia National Guard personnel have been activated to assist localities statewide,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The safety of Virginians remains our top priority as we monitor and respond to this storm.”
- Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are on 24-hour operations and are pretreating roads where temperatures permit. Motorists are strongly encouraged to stay off the roads during the storm. For information about road and traffic conditions, check 511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.
- The Virginia State Police have all uniformed personnel and necessary specialty units ready for response to the next round of increased volumes in traffic crashes, disabled vehicles and other storm-related emergencies. Virginians are advised to plan ahead for slick, treacherous road conditions. They can also help reduce traffic crashes and delays by avoiding travel during the storm.
- The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring 200 personnel on state active duty to assist with the response. They will begin staging at key locations in the Hampton Roads area Friday night to be ready for duty Saturday morning. Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation for first responders through deep snow or help evacuate citizens in need of shelter as well as providing debris reduction teams with chain saws to help clear roads if needed.
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