Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency, an action that authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the snow and ice storm that will affect the commonwealth Monday evening and into Tuesday.
It also serves as a warning for citizens to stay off the roads and travel only if absolutely necessary.
After a cold rain feel through most of Sunday evening, the snow began falling about 3 a.m. and is expected to fall for most of the day. Most businesses and schools in and around Reston are closed.
“This storm could bring difficult travel and widespread power outages for the next few days,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It is also going to be very cold with gusty winds across Virginia. Please postpone travel during the storm, charge up your mobile devices so you can stay in touch, and take time to check on your neighbors in case they need help.”
In response to the storm:
- 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 Department of Emergency Management is coordinating conference calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
- Virginia Department of Transportation crews have begun full preparations for a significant winter weather event expected to impact the commonwealth Monday.
- The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 100 personnel on state active duty to support emergency response operations. Virginia Guard personnel have been alerted to begin staging and expect to be in place tonight so they are able to rapidly respond if needed.
- The Virginia State Police will extend shifts and have additional troopers on patrol to expedite response times to traffic crashes and disabled motorists.
- Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
- Prepare a three-day supply of food that includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
- Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
- Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
- Only travel if absolutely necessary. Roads can become very hazardous very quickly. Always wear a seatbelt, and know road conditions before you leave. Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going towww.511Virginia.org
- Have emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
- Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
- If you need help for an elderly or disabled person during the storm, need information on warming shelters or are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family, call 211 or visit www.211virginia.org. When you call 211, a trained professional will suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide.
- Get winter weather preparedness information at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.
Photo via Dulles International Airport via Twitter.