Power crews, emergency officials urge Virginia residents to prepare for Hurricane Zeta


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Local power crews and first responders throughout the area are bracing for Tropical Storm Zeta.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is actively reaching out to localities to ensure communities are prepared.

As a result of heavy rain and wind expectations, VDEM plans for flash flooding in the commonwealth. As with any storm, the department recommends packing an emergency kit with non-perishables and water.

“You’ll want to pack those types of things that can last up to 72 hours if there are power outages in the area,” said VDEM Deputy Director of Communications Jason Elmore.

Dominion Energy urges residents to prepare a first-aid kit containing flashlights, batteries, cleaning supplies and face coverings. The power and energy company also recommends residents to carry personal healthcare information.

In addition, locals should remove outside furniture and charge all electronics before the storm arrives. If locals have a generator, be sure it is fueled, tested and properly connected.

VDEM reminds locals that a generator’s improper use could be life-threatening for customers and for line crews working to restore power. Dominion Energy adds that various crews and equipment will be on standby should conditions warrant.

“We are staffed up. Our crews are ready to respond safely and quickly as they can if there are power outages,” said Audrey Cannon, a Communications Specialist at Dominion Energy.

Officials advise residents to fill up their gas tank if the gas pumps were to shut down during a power outage. Also, locals should park away from trees to avoid downed branches and power lines toppling over due to heavy wind. 

“If you do see a power line down, always assume that it’s energized and very dangerous,” Cannon said. 

VDEM believes that it’s best to always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 

“I think a majority of people believe that you know, these things won’t impact me, but we see residents throughout the commonwealth, businesses throughout the commonwealth with every storm that somebody gets impacted and all of those people never thought it was going to be them,” Elmore said. 

If the power goes out or there is a downed power line, Dominion Energy asks that residents let them know immediately. 

Residents can report an outage on their app, on their website or over the phone by calling (866) 366-4357.

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