January 28, 2010
Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency Thursday, authorizing state agencies to assist local governments responding to the potential winter storm that is expected to affect parts of the commonwealth Friday and Saturday.
The exact snowfall total and storm track is still uncertain, but the southern half of Virginia from Southwest Virginia to Hampton Roads is expected to receive the brunt of the storm and has the potential for significant accumulations of snow.
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 State of Emergency must be issued in advance to allow for proper and effective preparation. State agencies are getting ready for the storm by taking actions, including:
-- The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has held weather conference calls with the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
-- The Virginia Department of State Police and the Department of Transportation are preparing to keep roadways clear and assist motorists.
-- The Virginia National Guard has placed 200 soldiers on standby.
-- The Virginia Emergency Operations Center will bring in a small number of response team members beginning Friday night. By Saturday morning, a larger group from several state agencies, major utilities and other affiliated organizations will be in place.
Virginians in the affected areas can prepare for the storm by having an emergency kit in their home and vehicle that includes water, food, a battery-powered radio, blankets, a flashlight and extra batteries.
Also, citizens should monitor news outlets for updates on this developing storm and check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging on to 511Virginia.org.
In areas where significant snowfall occurs, Virginians are encouraged to stay off the roads until the storm abates and roads are cleared.