Gov. Northam declares state of emergency ahead of weekend winter storm

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Friday ahead of the winter storm predicted to move through Virginia this weekend.

8News meteorologists predict the storm will significantly impact the state and Central Virginia could see snow, sleet and then rain. The western portion of the state could see snow and sleet. They expect the mountains could see 10 to 16 inches of snow.

“We expect this storm to have a significant impact in many parts of Virginia,” Gov. Northam said. “Declaring a state of emergency now allows our emergency responders to prepare, and to move supplies and equipment where they expect to need them the most. This also gives Governor-elect Youngkin the ability to respond to any storm needs swiftly. I urge Virginians to take this storm seriously and make preparations now.”

Previously, Northam’s office had drafted a state of emergency order for Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin to declare if needed.

Northam’s office said the Virginia Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring the weather and anticipates impacts will begin Saturday night. However, they added that the National Weather Service is still refining its forecasts.

The governor’s office added that some parts of the state are still recovering from the last storm, such as restoring power and cleaning up debris.

“This upcoming weather system is likely to include additional downed trees, more electrical outages, and significant impacts on travel conditions,” the release said.

During the last storm, hundreds of people were stranded on Interstate 95 in the Fredericksburg area. One of the major critiques about how the situation was handled is that the National Guard was not deployed.

State officials said they were not deployed because it would take could take an entire day, and instead relied on Virginia State Police troopers. Gov. Northam added during the Jan. 4 press conference that none of the localities requested help from the National Guard.

This state of emergency declaration will allow the guard to be deployed.

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