State readies crews across VA before Sandy strikes - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

State readies crews across VA before Sandy strikes

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Responders are stationed across Virginia, ready to help as Sandy strikes.

Virginia Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Cline says Sandy is not a typical storm. They system's bringing harsh rain, wind, flooding, and in Western Virginia, the risk of snow!

"This is a unique event. We really don't know what impacts are going to be...four days of high winds and heavy rain, and wind changing direction. Most of the time during a hurricane, most winds are from one primary direction. It's going to be very different this time," said Mike Cline.

Sandy is expected to batter Virginia's coast the hardest. "The eastern shore is going to take the brunt of this," said Cline.

Crews are so far concentrated on the coast and in Northern Virginia, where the storm is impacting the hardest. Parts of Northampton, Mathews and Tangier Counties have issued mandatory evacuations. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced Sunday that every state police officer is on standby. Also in place are up to 750 National Guard troops, the Coast Guard and a thousand VDOT workers. Many responders are waiting in hotels to be dispatched. That call will happen at the Commonwealth's ground zero for storm response, the Virginia Emergency Operations Center in Chesterfield.

Another effort already happening at the Virginia EOC is the coordinating of volunteer efforts. Staff is reaching out to faith-based groups and other organizations, to make sure they're on standby to help with cleanup and aid for those in need. Donations are also being sought.

Despite the Commonwealth's vast response, Governor McDonnell stressed that residents must be prepared as well.

"If there are any final preparations, make them right now. The outer bound of the storm has been in Hampton Roads…It's starting to approach Central Virginia," said Governor McDonnell.

In short, know where your shelters are before power goes out, stock up on water and non-perishable food, don't use candles since they are a fire hazard, generators should run outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and get extra blankets. Power outages can result in no heat, and temperatures are expected to drop at the end of the storm.

State offices and schools are closed Monday, something fourth-grader Matt Swineford has mixed feelings about.

"I was really happy, but I'm also kind of scared because of the storm and how it might turn out," said Swineford.

Matt isn't alone in remembering how badly hurricane season can tear through Virginia.

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