Northam issues state of emergency as Virginians pack grocery stores

Grocery stores packed ahead of snow storm

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As snow moved into Virginia on Saturday night, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency.

“I am declaring a state of emergency in order to prepare and coordinate the Commonwealth’s response to anticipated winter storm impacts, including snow and ice accumulations, transportation issues, and power outages,” said Northam. “Virginians should take precautions to stay safe as we begin experiencing winter weather effects.”

The state of emergency allows the commonwealth to mobilize resources and to deploy people and equipment to assist in storm response.

“This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses,” the commonwealth said in a news release. “The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia National Guard and other pertinent agencies are already mobilizing and preparing for the impact of this storm.”

Before the snow started Saturday afternoon, grocery stores around the state were packed with shoppers picking up last-minute items.

“[I anticipate] work being canceled tomorrow," said Brittany Edmonds.

From the checkout lines to the aisles, there was a flurry of movement in most grocery stores around the greater Richmond area.

“I had actually already been to the grocery store but I realized I forgot a few things so I came back out,” said Tiffany Holt.

Shoppers were seen picking up some of the essentials ahead of the storm including milk, bread, veggies, and any snacks or beverages for the big football games this weekend.

“I went to a Walmart first, but they didn’t have the chicken," said Shayron Jefferson, a Cowboys fan. "So I’m here, and I’m getting ready for the game,”

“[I picked up] water and I’m anticipating the kids being out of school Monday so just house snacks, cereals and things like that,” Holt added.

A store manager at the Food Lion on Jahnke Road in Richmond said in a matter of five hours they had already doubled their daily sales for the day.

“Crazy! Very crazy!” Holt said.

Which is why long lines were no surprise.

However, despite the number of items heading out the door, employees had it covered inside with the stocking.

“Yeah I think my grandma got pretty much everything,” Edmonds said.

“I ain’t trying to go to two or three different stores,” said Sebastian Jones. “I’m just trying to go to one store.”

“It was crazy,” Jefferson said. “A lot of the shelves at Walmart are empty.”

As the storm makes its way to Richmond overnight most families will have all they need for the days ahead and instead can focus on other things.

"Sledding!” Jefferson’s son said.

Most grocery stores plan to open at regular times Sunday, however managers ask people to give them a call just in case.

Heavier snow moving in overnight in Central Virginia

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