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State of Emergency declared in Virginia ahead of winter storm

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Posted at 8:33 AM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 11:25:46-05

Richmond, Va. – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a State of Emergency ahead of the winter storm expected to impact the state through the weekend.

The action authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the storm. Agencies will now be able to position resources throughout the state as needed in order for quick response.

“Keeping Virginians safe in the event of severe weather is our top concern – that is why Virginia began preparing for severe winter weather yesterday by ordering more than 500 vehicles out to pretreat roads in Northern Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “All Virginians should take the threat of this storm seriously and take necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for travel disruptions and possible power outages during a cold weather period.”

“VDOT is prepared with crews, equipment and materials to treat roads in advance of the storm and will work throughout the storm to plow roads,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “Driving conditions during the storm are expected to be hazardous and motorists are urged to stay off the roads until the storm passes.”

State Actions:

  • Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are on 24-hour operations and are pretreating roads where temperatures permit. Motorists are strongly encouraged to stay off the roads during the storm. For information about road and traffic conditions, check www.511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.
  • The Virginia State Police have all uniformed personnel and necessary specialty units ready for response to the next round of increased volumes in traffic crashes, disabled vehicles, and other storm-related emergencies. Virginians are advised to plan ahead for slick, treacherous road conditions. They can also help reduce traffic crashes and delays by avoiding travel during the storm.
  • The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 500 personnel on state active duty for possible assistance with the state’s severe winter weather response operations. The Guard plans to stage personnel at readiness centers in key locations across the commonwealth in order to be ready to rapidly respond if needed. The alert process to notify personnel to report for duty began Wednesday afternoon, and the Guard plans to have forces in place and ready to go by early evening on Thursday, Jan. 21. Potential missions for the Guard include transportation through heavy snow, downed tree removal, debris reduction and distribution of food, water and other supplies.

NewsChannel 3 will be providing coverage on the storm’s impacts in our area throughout the weekend.