State of Emergency declared in Virginia ahead of Tropical Storm Michael

Tornado watch in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth ahead of Tropical Storm Michael.

"I want to urge all Virginians to prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical storm force winds, tornadoes, and power outages," Governor Northam said. "I am declaring a state of emergency in order to provide state assets to Virginians and to assist our neighbors in states who are dealing with the devastating effects of this historic storm."

Visit VAemergency.gov for help in preparing for hurricanes, tornadoes and flood threats.

The following information was provided by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management:

Talk to your family about the hazards that could affect your area and what you should do if it happens.

Decide on a place to meet – one in your neighborhood and one outside your neighborhood – in case you cannot return to your home.

Write down your plan and make it part of your emergency supply kit. Download the worksheets below and fill them out. Have each member of your household carry a wallet card with them.

Texts, email and social media posts are more likely to get through when cell networks are overloaded.

Plan for your pets. Most evacuation shelters allow service animals only.

Ask an out-of-town friend or family member to serve as a point of contact for all the member of your household. Often during an emergency, long-distance calls will go through when local networks are overwhelmed.

If you are instructed to turn off your home’s utilities, teach family members where and how to turn them off. Keep tools near the location. If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on – do not attempt to do it yourself.

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