Virginia Governor Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Severe Weather

Virginia Highway Safety Patrol | I-95 Exit Guide

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and urged residents of the Commonwealth to prepare for significant storm impacts generated by remnants of Hurricane Hermine, which has the potential to bring severe flooding, dangerous storm surge and damaging winds to Virginia.

“We are strongly encouraging everyone in Virginia to prepare for the possibility of damaging winds, downed trees, power outages and flooding in much of the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I have been briefed by the National Weather Service and my emergency team, who are tracking this storm and monitoring for the potential that it will reconstitute as a nor’easter with significant rainfall, life-threatening storm surge and flooding. I urge Virginians to limit travel as the severe weather arrives and evacuate if recommended by 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.”

A state of emergency is declared under Virginia law so that state resources can be made available. The governor’s emergency declaration ensures a fully coordinated state response to support local initial response and recovery efforts. A declaration also decreases time and paperwork required to get personnel, equipment and supplies where they are needed.

“Public safety personnel are coordinating state efforts to track the storm and respond to any emergencies,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “We encourage the public to exercise good judgement and stay up to date by following the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on social media.”

In response to the storm, these actions are being taken:

  • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is at increased readiness with emergency response team members monitoring the storm and ready to coordinate the state’s response. The Virginia Emergency Support Team will be fully activated tomorrow morning and will provide 24-hour coverage for as long as needed.
  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating conference calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
  • The Virginian National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty and plans to alert them on Friday. They are scheduled to be staged and ready for duty by early Saturday morning at key locations in the Hampton Roads area. Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation through high water as well as providing chain saw teams for debris reduction.
  • Virginia Department of Transportation crews have begun full preparation for a significant weather event expected to impact the Commonwealth over the next few days. VDOT crews are ready to clear roads and ensure roads are safe for travel.
  • With this being a holiday weekend, Virginia State Police already have an increased presence on highways across the Commonwealth to manage increased volumes of traffic, and to expedite response to crashes and disabled motorists. The Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue Team is on stand-by.

The declaration also activates the provisions of state law on price gouging so that state agencies can address verified reports of price gouging of necessary goods or services.

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