State of emergency declared, response underway - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

State of emergency declared, response underway


The storm is not at all over - that was the message from Governor Bob McDonnell Wednesday afternoon, as he declared an official state of emergency. From Richmond To D.C. to the Shenandoah Valley, it was just a mess.

"They expect more problems into tomorrow as the winds pick up and the storm continues," said McDonnell Wednesday afternoon.

There were very different pictures across different parts of the Commonwealth. In Richmond, mostly rain and snowy slush. The Governor said he woke up to thunderstorms. In Henrico and Chesterfield, there were reports of 5-6 inches. In Charlottesville, residents saw up to a foot, and farther West in Lexington and Rockbridge County, even more snow.  

Throughout Virginia, thousands of customers were without power as temperatures dropped into the night.  

"We expect the winds to intensify," said McDonnell. "And it's the combination of heavy wet snow and wind that causes us to believe there will be significantly more power outages. I mentioned there were roughly 200,000 power outages. We anticipate that number going up, and perhaps dramatically, this afternoon."

For now, road crews say interstates are passable. Crews are working on main roads and neighborhoods, with some help from the National Guard.

"We'll be retreating roads, sanding and salting and those types of things," said one state leader. "Anticipating some refreeze. But I think tomorrow you'll see significant improvement and again into the weekend."

For those without power, the answer is less certain.

"We're not going to know until tomorrow when, based upon what we see in the damage," said Rodney Blevins with Dominion Virginia Power. "What we'll first do is post an overall end of restoration. I would encourage customers that are out to make preparations for being out multiple days. Just as a precaution."

A lot of the state response is going to depend on what's on the ground - whether it gets cold enough to freeze overnight, whether we'll get more snow, and how bad this wind is. All factors that could influence how long it takes to recover from this storm.

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