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Virginia National Guard members muster as Northam declares state of emergency ahead of winter storm

The Virginia National Guard was called in ahead of the winter storm.
The Virginia National Guard was called in ahead of the winter storm.(Virginia National Guard)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:28 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 4:21 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Wednesday ahead of another round of winter weather that is expected in the state overnight on Thursday.

The storm is expected to come days after Monday’s winter storm that left several inches of snow on the ground and has people still without power. Some rural roadways are still impassable from snow, ice and debris.

“Having two bouts of snow and icy weather back to back makes it more likely communities will need additional help as they continue to recover from the first round of tree-snapping wet snow and ice that we saw Monday,” Northam said. “While we typically have ample resources for snow storms, these back-to-back events will generate landmark winter weather that requires extra flexibility. I am grateful to the hundreds of first responders and emergency personnel who continue to work around the clock to keep Virginians safe.”

The National Weather Service predicts that the storm could cause additional downed trees, more electrical outages, and impacts on travel conditions in parts of the state.

“Because the second storm is expected to continue to exacerbate damage from the first one, the emergency order will cover expenses for the combined storm events,” a release said.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management requested that the Virginia National Guard give teams to help clear roads with fallen trees.

The Virginia National Guard has about 40 soldiers and airmen ready for weather response. About 20 soldiers came from Southwest Virginia and another 20 airmen mustered in the Virginia Beach area and will move to northern Virginia.

Both groups have chain saws and heavy-duty trucks to help clear debris and fallen trees from roadways.

An additional 20 soldiers will muster in the Richmond area Thursday evening to help support the central Virginia region.

”Once again our Soldiers and Airmen have quickly answered the call to be ready to assist their fellows Virginians during a potentially hazardous weather situation,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, the VNG Director of the Joint Staff. “It is important our state agency partners know we are able to quickly respond when we are requested, and we owe a special thanks to our families and employers. Without their support, we couldn’t perform our mission.”

You can read the full declaration, here.

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