Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency Thursday due to several rounds of winter weather that will impact several areas of the Commonwealth beginning Thursday and lasting through Saturday.
Current weather forecasts indicate the largest threat will be for the Hampton Roads and Central Virginia regions. This weather system will have significant impacts on travel conditions and as with previous storms, could produce downed trees and electrical outages. The executive order is designed to help the Commonwealth prepare for, respond to, and recover from any impacts and to streamline processes that provide assistance to localities and communities affected by the storm.
“I am declaring a state of emergency to aid in the response to the impending winter weather and to provide additional resources to address potentially high snow accumulations, transportation issues, and the potential for power outages,” said Youngkin. “I urge all Virginians to monitor their local weather forecasts and take personal safety precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of their families.”
A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources and to deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, and other pertinent agencies are already mobilizing and preparing for the impact of these storms.
Youngkin urges everyone to be weather aware and prepared by:
*Staying off the roads as much as possible during a winter storm, and driving only when necessary.
*Always give snowplows and responders the right of way.
*Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any other partially enclosed area.
*Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks. Always avoid overexertion when shoveling.
*When severe weather occurs, plan to check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives.
*If you must travel, know road conditions before you leave home. Visit 511Virginia.org or call 511 for road condition updates.
*Protect yourself from frostbite. Hands, feet and face are the most affected areas, so wear a hat, mittens (which are warmer than gloves) and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.
*Keep dry. Change out of wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
*Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer or heavy clothing.
To learn more about how to prepare yourself, your family, and your business for winter weather, visit www.vaemergency.gov/winter-weather. For real-time traffic conditions anywhere in the state, dial 5-1-1 or visit 511Virginia.org.