Gov. McDonnell declares State of Emergency after deadly storms

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a State of Emergency for Virginia Saturday morning, after storms killed 6 and knocked out power to nearly 1 million customers statewide.

The declaration allows the state to call up as many as 300 National Guard members and puts the state's emergency management plan. It also allows the widespread use of emergency shelters across the state.

"This is going to be a very difficult period of time," said Gov. McDonnell. "What I ask all Virginians to do right now is please work together. Be your neighbor's keeper. Be a good neighbor."

The storm caused 6 deaths, all due to trees down. One person died in Albemarle County, two in Bedford county and three in Northern Virginia.

Dominion reported 900,000 customers without power across Virginia, making this the largest non-hurricane power outage in the state's history and the 5th largest overall, reported McDonnell. Crews are working to restore powers first to hospitals and public safety buildings, then they'll work on the largest capacity lines. Dominion says 10 major transmission lines went down in the storm, leading to many of the outages.

"This is a dangerous situation that occurred," said McDonnell. "It could potentially get worse over the next couple days as the heat and severe thunderstorms affect Virginia."

The President called the Governor at around 3 p.m. Saturday. He asked about the situation on the ground and offered federal assistance if necessary in the power restoration and cleanup effort.

More severe weather is in the forecast for much of the state, with the possibility of severe thunderstorms Saturday evening.

More than 250 secondary roads are closed statewide due to downed trees.

If you have pictures or video of the storm damage, you can send it to us at

For the fastest weather updates, text SEVERE to 80412 to receive breaking weather alerts on your phone.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.