Virginians Urged to Prepare for Flooding

October 2, 2015  //  

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Oct. 2, 2015

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Virginians Urged to Prepare for Flooding

State resources in place to help potential flood victims

Richmond, Va. – As Hurricane Joaquin shows signs of steering away from the coast, Virginians are advised to prepare for flooding from rivers, streams and low-lying areas from a separate low-pressure system. According to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) forecast, every river in the Commonwealth will be impacted by the low-pressure system, increasing the flood risk for all Virginians.
Virginians should be aware of key weather terms and continue preparing for the hazards that flooding brings.
 Know the weather terms and what you should do:

  • Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: There is an increased possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
    • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will likely occur very soon. If emergency officials advise you to evacuate, do so immediately.
    •  Flash Flood Warning: Flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately – do not wait for official instructions.
    • Be prepared to evacuate. If evacuated, do not return to your home until local officials say it is safe. After floodwaters recede, roads could be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water could be contaminated.
  • If water is rising quickly or you see a moving wall of mud or debris, immediately move to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through moving water. What might seem like a small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.
  • The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services encourages family members and neighbors to check on older adults and individuals with disabilities to ensure they have enough food, water, medication, medical supplies and other necessities on hand to last several days.
  • If you are an older adult or an individual with a disability and have a non-emergency medical appointment in an area experiencing flooding, consider rescheduling the appointment until it is safe to travel.

State Actions:

  • Governor McAuliffe declared a State of Emergency at 5:04 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept.30. This allows state agencies to quickly take actions in the interest of getting assistance to local governments and, in turn, to residents of the Commonwealth as soon as possible.
  • Due to concern about people getting trapped by flood waters, the Virginia State Police has staged five swift-water rescue teams in Richmond, Roanoke and on the Eastern Shore.
  • The Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) is in full activation, providing 24-hour coverage for the foreseeable future. The VEST consists of multiple state agencies working together to support emergency response. State emergency managers are in regular contact with local emergency managers and the processes are in place to share information and resources.
  • The Virginia Department of Health is maintaining situational awareness with hospitals, waterworks, and local health departments across the state, coordinating resource requests and reporting through the state emergency operations center.
  • The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 800 soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty.
  • The Virginia Guard plans to stage personnel at readiness centers in the areas of Hampton Roads, Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, Shenandoah Valley and Southwest Virginia. Potential missions for the Virginia Guard include using Humvees and light and medium tactical trucks for high water transport as well as engineers with chain saws, trucks, and heavy engineer equipment for debris reduction and downed tree removal.
  • As rivers flood, there is concern about hazardous materials washing downstream, and hazardous materials teams stand ready to investigate those incidents.


Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund