Northam declares state of emergency ahead of winter storm

January 14, 2022 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Friday ahead of a storm expected to bring snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain to much of the state this weekend.

In a statement, Northam urged Virginia residents to take the storm seriously and prepare ahead of time. The National Weather Service forecasts significant snow, sleet, and ice late Saturday night through Monday in a majority of the state, with up to a foot of snow predicted in parts of southwest Virginia, officials said.

Northam said the declaration means emergency responders can get supplies and equipment where they expect to need them most before the storm hits. Northam, who leaves office Saturday, and emergency officials conducted a joint preparation call Friday morning with incoming Gov. Glenn Youngkin and his team. Youngkin’s inauguration is set for noon Saturday.

The Virginia National Guard alerted personnel Friday for possible storm response and plans to stage 60 soldiers along the Interstate 81 and Route 460 corridors, according to a news release. Additional personnel will provide support in the Richmond area.

Parts of Virginia are still dealing with power outages and debris removal after two winter storms last week and this weekend’s storm is expected to bring more downed trees, outages, and difficult travel conditions, officials said.