Winter Storm Helena

Winter Weather

Snow Updates for Winter Storm Helena

Situation Summary:

Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency on January 6, 2017, to support relief efforts to localities being impacted by Winter Storm Helena. A winter storm began impacting the Commonwealth Friday, January 6th and continued through Saturday January 7th.  Temperatures will be between 16 and 22 degrees during the day and will drop to the single digits tonight. Tomorrow’s temperatures remain below freezing with an average of 27 degrees.

Resources:
Weather.gov – Wakefield Office for up to date information http://www.weather.gov/akq/
Traffic updateshttp://www.511virginia.org/
Power outage informationhttp://outagemap.dom.com/external/default.html
Resources for cold weather:

  • Reporting Power Outages 
    • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (366-4357) or www.dom.com
    • Appalachian Power Company: 1-800-956-4237
    • A&N Electric Cooperative (Accomac and Northampton counties): 1-800-431-2632
    • NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500
    • Prince George Electric Cooperative: 1-804-834-2424 or www.pgec.coop
    • Rappahannock Electric Cooperative: 1-800-552-3904
    • Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative: 1-800-234-7832
    • Southside Electrical Cooperative: 1-866-878-5514
    • Northern Neck Electric Cooperative: 1-866-NNEC-OUT (663-2688)

    Commonwealth Actions:

    • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) has been activated and the Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) is on 24-hour operations coordinating Commonwealth’s winter storm response.
    • Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and contract crews are out in force to keep the roads as clear as possible.  Even with the treatment and plowing, ROADS ARE SLICK.  MOTORISTS ARE URGED TO STAY OFF THE ROADS. Crews work to clear interstates and primary roads first, then major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities, and then other secondary roads and subdivision streets. Crews focus their efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
      • 7,500 VDOT and contract crews deployed to fight this snowstorm.
      • 7,000 pieces of equipment are being used.
      • VDOT and contract crews are treating or plowing nearly 58,000 miles of roadways – and are making several passes in the snow impacted areas.
    • The Virginia State Police Since the storm’s arrival in Virginia, Virginia State Police troopers have responded to more than 660 traffic crashes and aided more than 900 disabled vehicles statewide.
    • State police investigated one fatal storm related crash Saturday (Jan. 7) in Greene County (confirmed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner), in which icy roads were a factor. Fortunately, the majority of crashes on Saturday involved only damage to vehicles.
    • Due to extremely cold temperatures and icy conditions, State police are still encouraging drivers to be patient and stay off the roads until temperatures rise and the roads can be treated by VDOT.
    • The Virginia National Guard The Virginia National Guard has approximately 160 personnel staged and ready at Guard readiness centers through the Hampton Roads area, and some Soldiers and vehicles are prepositioned at firehouses and other emergency services facilities in order to rapidly respond if needed.

    Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation for first responders through snow or help evacuate citizens in need of shelter. Soldiers are also organized into debris reduction teams with chain saws to help clear roads if needed.

    Additional Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force troopers are on duty in Sandston and Fort Pickett providing mission command, sustainment, incident management assistance and public information support.

    • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is at FULL STAFF Operations with ESF Support monitoring the situation and providing support to localities. There are currently 7 local emergency declarations (Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Prince George County). Emergency Operations Centers are open in 12 localities (Portsmouth, Henrico County, Chesapeake, Accomack County, Isle of Wight County, Richmond City, Lancaster County, Middlesex County, Norfolk, Suffolk, Gloucester County and Virginia Beach).

    What Citizens Should Do:

    • Stay off the roads during the storm unless travel is absolutely necessary. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and contract crews are out in force to keep the roads as clear as possible.  Even with the treatment and plowing, ROADS ARE SLICK.  MOTORISTS ARE URGED TO STAY OFF THE ROADS DURING THE STORM. About 70 percent of deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles. By staying off the roads during a winter storm, transportation workers and public-safety officials can clear roads and respond more quickly to emergency needs.
      • Crews work to clear interstates and primary roads first, then major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities, and then other secondary roads and subdivision streets.  Crews focus their efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
      • Monitor road conditions by going to www.511virginia.org.
      • If you need more information or report a specific road-related problem, go to https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/  or call 1-800-FOR-ROADS.
    •  If travel is absolutely necessary:
      • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter and is in safe driving condition.
      • Keep an emergency kit in your car. Include items such as jumper cables, blankets, first aid kit, water, non-perishable food, cat litter or sand, shovel, flash light and batteries, ice scraper and cell phone charger.
      • Visit www.511virginia.org or call 5-1-1 for road conditions.
      • Let someone know where you are going and what route you’re taking.
      • Remove all snow from your vehicle before driving.
      • Drive with caution – Reduce your speed and increase following distances.
      • Don’t crowd snow plows or emergency vehicles – give emergency crews plenty of room to work.
    • Stay indoors and stay warm. Dress in layers and reduce exposure to the cold.
    • With the bitter cold temperatures, the Virginia Department of Health reminds everyone that frostbite and hypothermia are serious concerns and urges us to dress appropriately for the cold weather. If spending time outside; monitor the time you and others are outside, especially children.
    • If working outside, pace yourself; don’t over exert, take frequent breaks. Be sure to check on others, especially if they are older or infirm. Learn the signs of frostbite and hypothermia on the VDH website —www.vdh.virginia.gov.
    • If you have power-dependent medical equipment, keep all batteries at full charge in case you lose power.
    • In a life threatening emergency, call 9-1-1 for help immediately
    • Keep your cell phone charged in case of a power outage. 
    • Bring pets inside from the cold.
      • If they do need to go outside try to minimize their exposure to cold weather.
    • Use caution when shoveling snow
      • Limit your exposure to cold, stay hydrated, lift with your knees, and do not over-exert yourself
    • If you need help, information or resources during the storm, call 2-1-1.
      • Those with hearing impairments can call 7-1-1 for the Virginia Relay Center and then call 1-800-230-6977. Out of state or videophone users may also dial 1-800-230-6977 for assistance.
    • Download the free Ready Virginia mobile app at: http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/additional-resources/mobileapp.

    If the power goes out, be sure to take the following precautions:

    • Report power outages to your power company.
    • If you have power-dependent medical equipment, make sure all batteries and extra batteries are fully charged. Know where to go if you lose power during or after the storm. If you aren’t sure where to go, dial 2-1-1 for a list of shelters or charging stations that may be open in your area.
    • Stay warm by wearing layered clothing, gloves, hats, and/or blankets.
    • Make sure you drink plenty of clean drinking water.
      • Your local officials will let you know if your water is unsafe to drink.
    • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as long as possible.
      • Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more.
      • Thawed food that contains ice crystals can be refrozen or cooked. Freezers, if left unopened and full, will keep food safe for 48 hours (24 hours if half full).
    • Do not use charcoal, generators, grills or similar devices inside.
      • Use these devices outside if necessary, as intended, and do not connect generators to your home electrical system.
    • Check on friends, family, neighbors, the elderly and those with medical needs
      •  If their power is out, help move them to a powered location or shelter, along with any medical devices or medicine they may need.

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund