RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency today in anticipation of a winter storm arriving tomorrow that will affect several regions of the Commonwealth. At this time, forecasts indicate that while this will be a statewide event, areas along the coastline will experience the largest impacts. Heavy wet snow along with high winds are predicted which poses a threat for downed trees, electrical outages, and major impacts to travel. In addition, there is also the threat of tidal flooding.
“The key message for all Virginians is to stay aware of the weather conditions and to stay off the roads if possible,” said Governor Youngkin. “We have already started planning and mobilizing resources needed to protect the Commonwealth. We are very concerned with the forecasted impacts to our Eastern Shore region and have started pre-positioning resources to ensure a timely response to that area. The most important thing everyone can do to minimize the risks is to prepare yourself and your family.”
As a reminder, below is a list of preparedness actions that you can take to lessen the impacts of severe winter weather:
- During a winter storm, stay off the roads as much as possible and only drive when absolutely 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 commonly 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.
- Prepare your home
- Make sure your home is properly insulated
- Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors
- Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts
- Have additional heat sources on hand in case of a power outages
- Keep a fire extinguisher accessible
- Replace the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide detector annually
- Prepare your car
- Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, be sure to have yours tested
- Check your car’s antifreeze level
- Have your radiator system serviced
- Replace your car’s windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mix
- Proactively replace your car’s worn tires and wiper blades
- To help with visibility, clean off your car entirely – including your trunk, roof, windows and headlights
- Please heed warnings to avoid travel. If you absolutely have to be on the roadway, prepare your vehicle and have a kit for you and your passengers. This could include items such as:
- Drinking water and snacks for everyone in the car, including pets
- Basic first-aid kit
- Warm coat and insulating layers (sweatpants, gloves, hat, socks,)
- Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
- Basic set of tools
- Car emergency warning devices such as road flares or reflectors
- Ice scraper/snow brush
- Jumper cables/jump pack
- Fire extinguisher
- Items for children such as diapers, baby wipes, toys, etc.
- Flashlight, with extra batteries
- Hand warmers
- Paper map
- Portable smartphone power bank
- Extra medication
- Garbage bags
- Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
- Tarp, raincoat and gloves
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.