Gov. Terry McAuliffe declares State of Emergency as winter storm approaches

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency today, an action that authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major winter storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth starting tomorrow.

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.

“Now is the time for Virginia to get ready for this storm,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This state of emergency declaration will empower the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, the Virginia National Guard, and our electric and cable utilities to prepare for a storm that is predicted to create power outages and significant travel challenges across the Commonwealth over the next few days.

“Just as state government is preparing for this storm, I urge every Virginian to take proper preparations. Prepare to limit unnecessary travel during the storm, have emergency supplies on hand and be ready in the event that power in your area goes out.”

To prepare for the storm:

  • ·         The Virginia Emergency Operations Center has additional response team members to coordinate the state’s response to the storm.
  • ·         The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating conference calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
  • ·         The Virginia Department of Transportation is treating roads in some parts of the Commonwealth, and crews will be out in full force for snow removal as the storm arrives. Roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.  VDOT has adequate supplies for this storm.
  • ·         The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty to support emergency response operations.  Virginia Guard personnel will be alerted to begin staging and expect to be in place Wednesday so they are able to rapidly respond if needed.
  • ·         The Virginia State Police will extend shifts and have additional troopers on patrol to expedite response times to traffic crashes and disabled motorists.

Citizens should:

  • ·         Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
  • ·         A three-day supply of food includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
  • ·         Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information.  Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
  • ·         Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas.  Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
  • ·         Only travel if absolutely necessary.  Roads can become very hazardous very quickly.  Always wear a seatbelt, and know road conditions before you leave.  Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going towww.511Virginia.gov
  • ·         Have emergency supplies in your vehicle.  If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
  • ·         Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition.  Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
  • ·         If you need help for an elderly or disabled person during the storm, need information on warming shelters or are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family, call 211 or visit www.211virginia.org.  When you call 211, a trained professional will suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide.
  • ·         Get winter weather preparedness information at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.

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