State agencies respond to winter storm
The Commonwealth continues around the clock response to the recent severe winter weather. The storm dropped as much as 12 inches of snow in some parts of the state, leaving Virginians with snow-packed, icy roads and very low temperatures for the next few days. Residents are encouraged to protect themselves by limiting travel, staying inside and taking safety precautions.
“Whether you’re outside shoveling snow or have plans to travel, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind,” said Governor McAuliffe. “With continued frigid temperatures expected across the Commonwealth, the snow and ice you see today will likely stick around for several days.”
Here’s a list of current state agency storm response efforts and how they are assisting Virginians:
- Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews continue to work 12-hour shifts across the commonwealth to treat and plow roads as needed. Interstates and primary routes are in minor to moderate condition, meaning parts of the road are snow-covered or icy, but passable. Once crews have been able to clear the main routes, they will shift their efforts to state-maintained secondary routes, which also are mostly in moderate condition. VDOT’s goal is to make all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours of the end of a storm. Motorists should call 511 or go to www.511Virginia.orgfor the latest road conditions before traveling.
- From 4 p.m. Monday through 12 p.m. Tuesday, Virginia State Police troopers and dispatchers statewide have fielded 3,363 calls for service. During that period Virginia troopers responded to 1,035 traffic crashes and 1,023 disabled vehicles statewide. The majority of the crashes involved damaged vehicles only. Due to vehicles losing control on slick roadways, two VSP troopers have been struck and injured.
- The Virginia National Guard is returning to routine operations after staging personnel at readiness centers across the state for possible winter storm response operations, and senior leaders expect most personnel to be released from state active duty by end of the day Feb, 17, 2015. More than 125 Virginia National Guard personnel were on standby for possible missions across the commonwealth Tuesdaymorning, Feb. 17, 2015. After Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Mondayafternoon, Guard personnel begin moving into place and were staged and ready late Monday evening in order to support Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation or other state and local emergency response organizations.
“For older adults and for individuals with disabilities, snow and extreme cold can bring slips, falls and other health emergencies,” said Commissioner Jim Rothrock of the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. “With even lower temperatures predicted for Virginia later this week, now is the time to check in with older relatives, friends and neighbors and individuals with disabilities to ensure they have enough food and medication on hand to last a week, and to encourage them to leave shoveling the snow to others to avoid falling or straining the heart.”
There are a number of potentially life-saving actions that people can take, including:
- Charge your mobile devices so you can continue to hear information from official sources if the power goes out.
- Have emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- Additional information on winter weather safety is available from the Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/Alerts/WinterWeather/index.htm.
- 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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