COMSTOCK FOR DELEGATE BLOG
Information from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Presidential Emergency Declaration
· At Governor McDonnell’s request, Virginia received a pre-landfall federal emergency declaration. FEMA has made federal aid available to Virginia to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irene.
· The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in the counties of Accomack, Northampton, Isle of Wight, James City, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland and New Kent and the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.
Impacts in Virginia
· Three fatalities, one in Newport News, one in Brunswick County and one in Chesterfield County have been confirmed in Virginia as a result of Irene.
· About 945,000 customers are without power statewide as of 9 a.m.: 884,723 Dominion; 58,793 co-ops.
· Residents in affected areas should be prepared for extended power outages of up to a week or more.
· No “sustained” hurricane force winds were recorded in Virginia. Hurricane ‘gusts” were recorded inland and not at the coast. Gusts: Mathews County/Gwynns Island – 83 mph; Williamsburg – 76 mph. Tropical storm force “gusts”: Henrico County – 71 mph; Virginia Beach – 69 mph; Wachapreague – 66 mph.
· Storm surge was less than forecast. The maximum reported surge was 7.5 feet at Sewells Point. Levels were .5 feet below the record 1933 surge.
· Heaviest rainfall occurred inland, not at the coast. More than 15” of rain fell between Franklin and Emporia in the Route 58/Route 460 corridor.
· River flood forecast: Blackwater River at Franklin will crest at 20.6 feet Tuesday (major flood stage); Nottoway River at Sebrell will crest at 20.1 feet Tuesday (moderate flood state)
· People are urged to stay home so that emergency crews can clean up roads and ensure that they are safe for travel.
· Statewide, about 238 state-maintained roads are closed.
· The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel reopened at 7:15 this morning.
· The Midtown Tunnel in Norfolk remains closed. The Downtown Tunnel is open.
· VDOT has closed the Midtown Tunnel in Norfolk. The tunnel will reopen to traffic as soon as conditions improve and it is safe to do so.
· The Norris Bridge on Route 3 in Lancaster and Middlesex Counties is open.
· The Gov. Harry W. Nice Bridge on Route 301 between Maryland and Virginia is open.
· The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is open.
· Real-time roads closures and traffic conditions are available by calling 511 or going to www.511virginia.org <https://webmail.vita.virginia.gov/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=https://webmail.vita.virginia.gov/Exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.511virginia.org> .
· There are no state-managed shelters open at this time.
· Local governments have opened nearly 80 shelters. Approximately 5,046 people are in shelters.
· Get a list of available shelters at www.vaemergency.gov <https://webmail.vita.virginia.gov/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.vaemergency.gov> .
· Additional shelters could open throughout the day.
Local Numbers to Call for Information
· General questions about Hurricane Irene can be directed to 211.
· Questions about clean up and recovery efforts or details about shelters can be directed to public inquiry phone numbers that have been set up by affected localities or to local emergency management offices. If the locality is not listed below, a statewide list of emergency managers is available at https://lemd.vdem.virginia.gov/Public/Default.aspx <https://webmail.vita.virginia.gov/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=https://lemd.vdem.virginia.gov/Public/Default.aspx>
Locality Call Center
James City County (757) 564-2140
Chesapeake (757) 382-CITY
Williamsburg (757) 259-7200
Norfolk (757) 664-7200
Gloucester (804) 693-3000
York County (757) 890-3674
Isle of Wight County (757) 357-9537
Poquoson (757) 868-3005
Virginia Beach 311
Newport News (757) 269-2912
Hampton 311 and (757) 727-8311
What should residents be doing?
· Stay tuned to local TV and radio stations for the most current information.
· If using a portable generator, run them outside. The primary hazards to avoid when using generators include carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire. To avoid the danger of electrical shock, portable generators should never be connected to building wiring systems. If you must use a portable generator, connect appliances directly to the generator.
· Avoid using lighted candles. Flashlights are safer when the power is out.
· Avoid loose or dangling electrical wires. All wires should be considered live. Even wires that normally would not hurt you, such as telephone or cable wires, could have come in contact with energized wires or equipment.
Storing Food Safely
· Refrigerators will store food safely for up to 4 hours without power if the door is unopened.
· Freezers that are half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours without power; a full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours.
· Throw away any thawed food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
· After the storm, be careful what you eat. Food covered by waters from a flood or sewage backup may be contaminated and must not be consumed.
State/Federal Agency Response
· Virginia State Police responded to more than 2,000 calls between 8 am. Saturday, Aug. 27, and 7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28 in central, northern and eastern Virginia.
· VDOT is focusing on reopening roads. This will take time, because flood waters have to recede before many flooded roads can be reopened. More than 1,000 VDOT employees and additional contract employees are supporting the hardest hit areas. Teams are working on debris removal, signals, drainage and signs. All VDOT facilities are on standby for possible deployment to the eastern portion of the state. There were more than 10,700 citizens who called the 511 system Saturday, Aug. 27, for road condition information. A Weight Waiver for transporting emergency supplies went into effect at noon Aug. 26.
· As of noon today, 354 Virginia National Guard are working on Irene Recovery. Some examples of what they have been doing: VNG assisted VSP in clearing more than 100 fallen trees at various locations along I-64 and I-85. Virginia National Guard soldiers used chain saws to open a path for 10 motorists after they were trapped for more than seven hours by fallen trees on Route 5 near the Richmond National Battlefield Park.
· The National Guard Bureau is positioning troops in Virginia to provide assistance in the state and other states after Hurricane Irene passes. If needed, the Virginia National Guard says the troops and equipment could be deployed in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey or Washington, D.C. About 325 Virginia National Guard troops are staged at Guard facilities in Bowling Green, Emporia and Sandston. They have also joined Virginia State Police near Onancock on the Eastern Shore. Anticipated missions include high water transport and recovery, light debris removal and route clearance.