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Va. Governor Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Impending Rain Storm, Hurricane

Possible path for Hurricane Joaquin (via National Weather Service)Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency for Virginia in response to an impending nor’easter and Hurricane Joaquin, which is making its way toward the East Coast.

McAuliffe declared the state of emergency to allow Virginia businesses, residents and officials to prepare for the impending storms.

“I cannot stress enough the imperative for Virginians to focus on the rainstorms that are headed our way tomorrow and Friday, well before Hurricane Joaquin could potentially impact Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “The forecast of up to 10 inches of rain in areas across Virginia could result in floods, power outages and a serious threat to life and property. As we continue to track the path of Hurricane Joaquin, I have instructed the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to make every preparation for a major event Thursday and Friday.”

The nor’easter is expect to hit the area Thursday and Friday bringing a prolonged period of torrential rain and the potential for dangerous flooding, McAuliffe said in a statement. The rain may continue as Hurricane Joaquin approaches.

Joaquin is currently expected to make landfall at some point on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The hurricane’s possible trajectory has it hitting North Carolina around 2 p.m. on Sunday and moving through Virginia, D.C. and Maryland Sunday and Monday. Another path, however, predicts Joaquin will bypass the East Coast completely.

Joaquin is currently a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 85 miles per hour and is floating around the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands, according to NWS.

Virginia officials issued the following tips for staying safe when flooding is expected (after the jump).

Get Ready

  • Download the free Ready Virginia app for iPhone® and Android™, which features a customizable emergency plan, a checklist for gathering emergency supplies and an “I’m Safe!” feature that allows you to quickly send a text message to let family and friends know you are safe.
  • Decide how and where everyone will meet up with each other if separated.
  • Choose an out-of-town emergency contact for your family and give that person’s phone number to each family member.
  • Sign up for text alerts/weather warnings that may be offered by your locality. 

Prepare for flooding

  • Know the weather terms and what you should do:
    • Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: There is an increased possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
    • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will likely occur very soon. If emergency officials advise you to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • Flash Flood Warning: Flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately – don’t wait for official instructions.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. If evacuated, don’t return to your home until local officials say it is safe.  After floodwaters recede, roads could be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water might be contaminated.
  • Use common sense and look for information. If water is rising quickly or you see a moving wall of mud or debris, immediately move to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Look for areas where the water is not moving. What might seem like a small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.

Drive safely

  • Know the road conditions before you travel. Go to www.511Virginia.org or dial 511 from any phone for real-time traffic information and road condition reports.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground, if possible.
  • Flood water might cut off access to roads. Be prepared to stay where you are until floodwaters recede.

Stay informed

Other resources

  • If you need help, information or resources during or after the storm, call 211. Those with hearing impairments can call 711 to connect to the Virginia Relay Center for assistance with the call. Videophone users may dial 1-800-230-6977.
  • www.vaemergency.gov – go online or on your smart phone for statewide storm updates
  • @vdem – Twitter feed for storm updates from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management

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