RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued a state of emergency and urged Virginians to prepare for Tropical Storm Hermine since the storm will likely bring flooding, dangerous storm surge and damaging winds to parts of Virginia.
"We are strongly encouraging everyone in Virginia to prepare for the possibility of damaging winds, downed trees, power outages and flooding in much of the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said. “I have been briefed by the National Weather Service and my emergency team, who are tracking this storm and monitoring for the potential that it will reconstitute as a nor’easter with significant rainfall, life-threatening storm surge and flooding. I urge Virginians to limit travel as the severe weather arrives and evacuate if recommended by officials. We hope this storm passes quickly through our Commonwealth, but our top priority must be to ensure the safety of our citizens and their families.”
Officials said the declaration is crucial since it makes state resources available and a ensures a coordinated response to support local initial response and recovery efforts.
“Public safety personnel are coordinating state efforts to track the storm and respond to any emergencies,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “We encourage the public to exercise good judgement and stay up to date by following the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on social media.”
In response to the storm, these actions are being taken:
- The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is at increased readiness with emergency response team members monitoring the storm and ready to coordinate the state’s response. The Virginia Emergency Support Team will be fully activated tomorrow morning and will provide 24-hour coverage for as long as needed.
- The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is coordinating conference calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
- The Virginian National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty and plans to alert them on Friday. They are scheduled to be staged and ready for duty by early Saturday morning at key locations in the Hampton Roads area.
- Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation through high water as well as providing chain saw teams for debris reduction.
- Virginia Department of Transportation crews have begun full preparation for a significant weather event expected to impact the Commonwealth over the next few days. VDOT crews are ready to clear roads and ensure roads are safe for travel.
- With this being a holiday weekend, Virginia State Police already have an increased presence on highways across the Commonwealth to manage increased volumes of traffic, and to expedite response to crashes and disabled motorists. The Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue Team is on stand-by.
State Police also reminded motorists to make safety a priority if traveling to and/or from the Hampton Roads region as Hermine approaches this Labor Day weekend.
Hermine’s path is currently forecast to impact Hampton Roads with a serious potential for heavy rains, strong winds, and flooding in the coastal region.
State Police advised drivers to monitor local weather forecasts throughout the holiday weekend.
“Motorists are also advised to never drive through flooded roadways or high, standing water, due to the severe threat of your vehicle getting stuck or carried away in the current,” a State Police spokesperson said in a press release. “When driving in heavy rain, always use your headlights, buckle up, slow down for adverse road conditions, and remain alert to other motorists and high water.”