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News to Know for Sept. 1: Severe weather from Ida; Numbers for emergencies; Bus driver bonuses

Areas in the far southwest region have already experienced heavy rainfall in recent days,...
Areas in the far southwest region have already experienced heavy rainfall in recent days, leading to flash floods.(Joshua Hoehne | Unsplash)
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:33 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Take a look at our top headlines before you start your day.

Severe Weather From Ida Remnants

Warm and Humid today, with scattered strong storms likely this afternoon into the evening. Tornadoes are possible.

Today is a FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAY: Ida’s remnants brings a tornado and heavy rain risk. Partly to mostly cloudy with scattered afternoon and evening strong storms. Timing: 1 p.m. -11 p.m. Stay weather aware. Highs in the mid 80s.

Not an all-day rain but tropical downpours could be strong.

School Closings

Some Central Virginia schools have made decisions to close or change learning plans for Wednesday ahead of potential severe weather brought in by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

School closings
School closings(Source: WALB)

Ida is expected to track just north and west of Central Virginia into Wednesday. This positioning will place our area in the right front quadrant of the storm, which is the area in a tropical system most favorable for strong storms and tornadoes.

A running list of closures can be found, here.

State Of Emergency In Va.

Governor Ralph Northam has declared a State of Emergency to respond to expected impacts from Tropical Depression Ida, which is forecast to cause heavy rains and potential flooding along the I-81 and I-66 corridors, according to meteorologists.

Flooding in Buchanan County in far SW VA/Courtesy Roanoke County Fire-Rescue & WCYB
Flooding in Buchanan County in far SW VA/Courtesy Roanoke County Fire-Rescue & WCYB(Roanoke County Fire-Rescue & WCYB)

Areas in the far southwest region have already experienced heavy rainfall in recent days, leading to flash floods.

There is also a risk of tornadoes across the Commonwealth late Tuesday night through Wednesday.

The full text of Executive Order 81 is available here.

Numbers To Call For Emergencies

Wednesday is a First Alert Weather Day as central Virginia prepares to deal with potential severe weather from the remnants of Ida, which continue to move up through the U.S.

Numbers to call in different emergency situations in Richmond
Numbers to call in different emergency situations in Richmond((Photo: Richmond City))

Petersburg first responders are on stand-by to potentially block roads and keep people away from the parts of the city that flood. The Department of Public Works has also gone through and cleared out storm drains ahead of the rain.

  • If you have issues near your home like flooding or fallen trees, call the city’s street operations at 804-733-2415.
  • If it’s after 5 p-m.. call their non-emergency number at 804-732-4222.
  • If there’s an emergency like a fire or you have to leave your home due to flooding, call 911.

State Workers’ Vaccine Requirements

Starting Sept. 1, state employees must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The executive order will require proof of vaccination for at-will, classified, waged and other salaried employees in the executive branch including workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia State Police.

If you received your vaccine at your local pharmacy, hospital, or clinic you can contact your...
If you received your vaccine at your local pharmacy, hospital, or clinic you can contact your provider directly to receive a new card, according to a local health department director.(BreannaHarris/kfvs)

Like other vaccine mandates seen so far, the state does have an exemption for medical or religious reasons, but those folks will have to be regularly tested for COVID-19.

Failure to comply is considered a safety violation and employees will face consequences. The full executive directive can be read, here.

RHHD Opens Four Vaccine Hubs

Four new COVID-19 vaccination hubs will begin serving Richmond and Henrico health districts in September, according to a release from the health department.

The hubs will work in coordination with ongoing pop-up vaccine events with large employers, faith communities and community organizations.

Hubs are located in Richmond’s downtown and southside and in eastern and western Henrico to provide access to multiple communities.

For a list of clinic locations and times, click here. For additional vaccine opportunities, visit this link.

‘Martinsville 7′ Pardoned

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has granted a posthumous pardon to seven Black men from Martinsville who were executed 70 years ago for the alleged rape of a white woman.

Family members of Francis DeSales Grayson, Booker T. Millner, Frank Hairston, James Hairston, Howard Lee Hairston, John C. Taylor, and Joe Hampton, known as the Martinsville 7, say the men were interrogated under duress, without the presence of a lawyer, and their confessions were coerced under threat of mob violence.

Governor Ralph Northam has granted a posthumous pardon to 7 Black men from Martinsville...
Governor Ralph Northam has granted a posthumous pardon to 7 Black men from Martinsville executed 70 years ago.(Martinsville7.org)

Four of the men were executed by electric chair on February 2nd, 1951, and three of the men were executed on February 5th, 1951 in Richmond.

The alleged crime happened in January 1949. It was the largest mass execution in Virginia history. Most of the men were in their late teens or early 20s.

Missing Man

Police are searching for a man who they say has a mental health condition and needs medication.

Stephen Harold Cleaton, a 37-year-old man, was riding with a family member and became agitated. Police say the driver pulled over on Interstate 64 in an attempt to calm Cleaton, but he ran from the vehicle.

Stephen Harold Cleaton, 37, is missing from Henrico County.
Stephen Harold Cleaton, 37, is missing from Henrico County.(Henrico County Police Department)

The vehicle was parked on I-64 near mile marker 200, near Interstate 295. Police say Cleaton likely has cuts on his feet.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Henrico Police at 804-501-5000 or your local police agency, if outside of Henrico.

Bus Driver Bonuses

Hopewell City Public Schools is offering a retention bonus to all current and new bus drivers.

HCPS said all current and future bus drivers employed during the 2021-22 school year will get a bonus of up to $4,000 after completing a full year of service.

School bus generic
School bus generic(WRDW)

Drivers that started the year with Hopewell will get the bonus before the next school year begins. Drivers that start during the year will get the bonus after the year mark.

Chesterfield and Richmond schools also recently announced incentives for current and new drivers.

VCU To Test Emergency Alert System

Virginia Commonwealth University will conduct a full test of its emergency alter and communication systems on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses, along with VCU Police Department’s headquarters on Sept. 1.

The test will involve a one-minute siren activation, text messages, Alertus boxes, mass email, digital signs, desktop alerts, LiveSafe, VCU Mobile, social media and VCU Alert website information.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will be conducting a full test of its emergency...
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will be conducting a full test of its emergency communications and alerting systems.(Pixabay)

All of these methods are used to alert students, staff, visitors and the community.

A message notifying of the test will go out 10 minutes before on via text message. The test is scheduled to start at noon. There will also be a text notifying of the test starting and then one for its conclusion.

Final Thought

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else - Judy Garland

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