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Gov. Northam warns southwest Virginians to prepare for flooding, possible landslides

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam announced Saturday that Virginia is shifting resources to assist parts of the Commonwealth that will be impacted with potential flooding from Tropical Storm Florence as well as the hard-hit Carolinas.

Officials said leaders are working to "move people and commodities" to aid Southwest Virginia where flooding is expected when the remnants of Florence move through the area.

Florence will move up through eastern Tennessee into West Virginia, increasing Central Virginia's chances of rain Sunday night and Monday, especially west of I-95. Showers will turn more scattered and gradually diminish later on Tuesday. Rainfall totals in excess of 3″ are possible across the western third of Virginia.

"In Virginia, we are still expecting up to 12 inches of rain in Southwest and up the I-81 corridor, and as a result are repositioning state and federal assets to prepare for flooding and possible landslides early next week," Northam said. "Virginia is still in the path of storm once it makes its expected northern turn and now is not the time to let our guard down.”

As a result, city leaders have declared a state of emergency in Roanoke because of the potential for flooding. Additionally, officials in Danville are warning residents that near-record flooding is expected along the  Dan River this week.  [Click here for flooding preparation tips.]

Additionally, Northam's office said crews dispatched to Virginia are being sent to aid in the recovery in the Carolinas.

“I have been in contact with the governors of North and South Carolina and have offered the Commonwealth’s full support as our neighbors respond to catastrophic flooding associated with Florence,” Northam said.

From a news release from the Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam:

Virginia today shipped 4,000 box lunches to Clinton, North Carolina to aid residents there. These were unused meals from Virginia hurricane shelters which have since closed. The Virginia National Guard has deployed 25 high-wheeled vehicles and 50 personnel to assist with rescue operations in North Carolina. The Commonwealth is also organizing personnel to assist with sheltering, healthcare and response operations requested by emergency managers in North and South Carolina.

Virginia emergency managers have shifted swift water rescue teams to Southwest Virginia to prepare for possible rescues there. These include swift water rescue teams from Utah, California, Tennessee, and Mississippi, as well as incident management teams from Colorado and California.

Virginia also has its own teams in place preparing for flooding. If these resources are not used in the Commonwealth as Florence passes though Virginia, they will be offered to assist in the Carolinas. Virginia is also making arrangements to assist in the long-term response and recovery efforts in the Carolinas.

Citizens must prepare for flooding and use caution if they travel this week. Check road conditions by logging on to http://www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511. And remember, “Turn around; Don’t drown” when you encounter flooded roads.