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1,500 National Guard members called to Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence

RICHMOND, Va. -- As Hurricane Florence strengthens to a category 4 storm, Virginia is now bracing for a potentially catastrophic impact.

As a result, Gov. Ralph Northam has authorized the potential mobilization of all 6,000 national guard troops- unprecedented in Virginia history.

"If it stalls, we're expecting significant rainfall- the largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high wind- flooding is the deadliest result of these storms," Northam said.

1,500 National Guard airman and soldiers have already been called up across the state to help with ground and air rescue operation, clear debris, transport emergency officials, and distribute food, water and fuel to shelters in need.

Meanwhile- the Virginia Department of Emergency Management is also equipping localities with supplies, fuel and generators.

Cotton Puryear, of the Virginia National Guard explains that if you face an emergency during the storm, you should not contact the National Guard.

"If you're a person in need you should contact your 911 local dispatcher and then they will determine the appropriate response to come help you," Puryear said.

To avoid emergencies, state officials are warning to residents to be prepared by knowing their flooding risks, evacuation routes and local shelters.

Jeff Stern, coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said that Virginians should expect the storm to last more than just one day.

"All citizens in Virginia need to be prepared for a long duration storm that will last through the weekend," Stern said.