December 8, 2017
RICHMOND – With forecasts calling for winter 2017-2018’s first dose of widespread winter weather to impact Virginia beginning tonight and lasting through Sunday, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) urges Virginians to prepare for cold temperatures and potential travel impacts.
“Virginians have enjoyed milder temperatures thus far this fall, but the forecast is calling for the Commonwealth to see its first widespread dose of freezing rain, snow and potential frozen roadways this weekend,” said VDEM State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “With this forecast in mind, Virginians should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for travel disruptions and the colder weather coming this winter.”
VDEM is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Virginia State Police and local emergency managers to coordinate efforts ahead of the storm, to educate the public about important tips to stay safe during this event, and to ensure state resources with crews, equipment and materials are prepared to address impacts of this storm.
- VDEM emergency managers are monitoring forecasts and working with the National Weather Service, state agencies, and local emergency managers to ensure preparations are in place to address impacts of the storm and other potential needs ahead of the snowfall.
- VDOT crews have begun 24-hour operations and are pretreating roads where appropriate. Motorists are strongly encouraged to stay off the roads during the storm. For information about road and traffic conditions, check 511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.
- The Virginia State Police have uniformed personnel and necessary specialty units ready for response to increased volumes in traffic crashes, disabled vehicles, and other storm-related emergencies. Virginians are advised to plan ahead for slick, treacherous road conditions. They can also help reduce traffic crashes and delays by avoiding travel during the storm.
Important Winter Weather Reminders for Virginians
- Stay off the roads during the storm unless travel is absolutely necessary. If travel is necessary, drive with caution and allow extra space around other vehicles.
- Use extreme caution around slow-moving equipment being used to treat roads, such as snow plows.
- 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.
- Check on elderly or homebound neighbors, family, and friends to ensure they are ready for this storm and any possible inconveniences or interruptions that may result.
- Bring pets inside from the cold.
- Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
- Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
- If you need help, information or resources during the storm, call 211. Those with hearing impairments can call 711 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 VDOT 511 app for updates on road conditions at: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp.
For the best storm information and tips to keep your family safe this weekend, stay tuned to VDEM’s social media accounts:
- Twitter @VDEM
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VAemergency/
VDOT real-time traffic updates and road conditions VDOT offers the following resources:
- VDOT Twitter @VDOT
- VDOT Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT/
- 511 Virginia: 511virginia.org, Dial 5-1-1, or download the free VDOT 511 app: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp.
To learn more about how to prepare your family, car and home for winter weather, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/winter-weather/
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971