TRACKING SANDY: Governor McDonnell declares state of emergency
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Hurricane Sandy remains days away from Virginia, however Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency Friday morning.
“We are issuing this state of emergency today as a precautionary measure in order to ensure that we are ready for any potential effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Commonwealth,” Governor McDonnell said in an emailed statement. “Due to the track of this storm, and the fact that it will be a hurricane transitioning into a more nor’easter-like system, we could see severe weather lasting for 48 hours or more in the state.”
The governor noted that wind from the storm could knock down trees and cause “extensive” power outages.
“Now is the time for all Virginians to prepare for those possible power outages and disruptions to public services,” the governor said. “I encourage all Virginians to gather batteries, blankets, water, canned goods, and other necessities prior to the anticipated onset of storm conditions late Saturday and early Sunday.”
A decision on whether to reverse lanes on Interstate 64 to help in the evacuation of Hampton Roads will be made this evening, the governor noted.
In addition, the governor said state agencies are preparing for Sandy in the following ways:
- The Commonwealth has activated the Virginia Emergency Response Team.
- The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating the state’s response with increased staffing available 24 hours a day.
- Virginia State Police personnel have been placed on stand-by and will be pre-positioned to the areas where they will be needed based on the final projected path of the hurricane. The Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue Team is standing by in strategic locations.
- Chainsaw crews from the Virginia Department of Forestry are standing by with emergency response personnel and to help with debris removal.
- Virginia Department of Transportation crews are ready to clear roads and ensure roads are safe for travel.
- The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring personnel on state active duty and begin prepositioning resources.
- The Virginia Department of Health is coordinating with hospitals and long-term care facilities to ensure that they are prepared for storm impacts.