Gov. McDonnell urges snow storm preparation - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Gov. McDonnell urges snow storm preparation

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Governor's Office news release

Governor Bob McDonnell today encouraged Virginians to prepare for a potential significant winter storm that will affect the Commonwealth beginning tonight and lasting through late Wednesday/early Thursday. While exact impacts are still somewhat uncertain, Virginians should make preparations now for possible power outages and unsafe road conditions. The Governor participated in a full storm briefing earlier today with representatives from the National Weather Service, the State Police, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia National Guard, and numerous other agencies and officials, including several members of his Cabinet.


            Speaking about the storm, the Governor remarked, "While computer models continue to paint slightly different pictures regarding the exact location of the heaviest accumulations in the Commonwealth, we know that heavy snow, accompanied by high winds, is on the way for many areas of Virginia. This snow will accumulate rapidly at its peak and the combination of wet snow and high winds will likely lead to widespread power outages in many cities and counties. Weather conditions are anticipated to be the most severe in areas like the northern Shenandoah Valley, the northern Piedmont and Northern Virginia.  I urge all Virginians to take the appropriate steps now to prepare for this storm. And I ask Virginians to also do what we do best: look out for one another. If you have an elderly neighbor, check in on them during the storm; if you know a family in need make sure they are prepared to get through this storm. We are preparing at the state level for this late-winter event. But even with the best preparations there will still be power outages and dangerous travel conditions. I ask all Virginians to work together and help one another as we go through this storm over the next 24 to 36 hours."


            Virginia state agencies, local governments, power companies and telecommunication providers are taking all necessary and prudent steps to ensure they are prepared for whatever weather might impact the Commonwealth.


            The following steps have already been taken to prepare for the storm:


  • The Governor has directed all executive branch agencies with non-essential employees living or working in official storm watch or warning areas to allow eligible tele-workers to work remotely or to be generous in approving unplanned leave requests
  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating preparations at the state level, including holding conference calls with the National Weather Service, local governments and other state agencies.
  • Staffing in the Virginia Emergency Operations Center will be increased beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday for the duration of the event.
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation is fully prepared for this event, including deploying more than 4,000 salt trucks in northern Virginia by Wednesday morning.  VDOT will work 24/7 operations throughout the storm and beyond as required. 
  • Essential Virginia State Police staff are on stand-by with all troopers, supervisors and selected civilian staff statewide prepared for immediate deployment and extended work shifts based on the storm.
  • Virginia National Guard is on alert if needed to assist localities and several units in northern and western Virginia have been advised to begin preparations
  • The Virginia Department of Health is coordinating with hospitals and local emergency services departments. 
  • Private sector power companies and telecommunications providers are coordinating with the Virginia Emergency Operations Center on storm preparation efforts. Administration officials have been in direct contact already with representatives from Dominion Virginia Power and other Virginia power providers.


Citizens Can Help …

  • Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.  If possible, delay travel on Wednesday to allow VDOT crews to clear the roads.  Most accidents happen within the first two hours after a storm begins.  If you must drive, wear a seatbelt.
  • Monitor media outlets for notices of closures of government offices or private operations to avoid unnecessary travel
  • Get current road condition information by calling 511 or visiting
  • Make sure you have essential supplies on hand: at least three days of food that does not require refrigeration or electricity to prepare; at least three days of water (one gallon per person per day); a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio to get information from local media; a family emergency plan.
  • Visit for additional information and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.
  • Charge all mobile communication devices now
  • If you lose power, call your power company to report it.
  • Do not operate generators indoors.  Follow manufacturer's directions exactly.
  • Only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
  • Please bring in all pets from outside during the storm


Shelter Information

  • Local governments may open warming centers or overnight shelters in affected areas.  Get shelter information from your local emergency management office or by calling 211.
  • If you need assistance for a person with special needs, call 211 or visit All referrals are confidential.
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