The NBC29 newsroom received the following statement from the Office of Governor Bob McDonnell:
Governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency in response to severe weather that affected the Commonwealth last night. This action authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the storm's impact and forecasted extreme temperatures.
"The widespread power outage caused by last night's storms, combined with forecasted triple-digit high temperatures for the next several days, have created a dangerous situation for many Virginians," said Governor Bob McDonnell. "Older Virginians, infants and those who have medical conditions are especially at risk for heat related injuries. Please check on your neighbors, friends and family members and make sure they have a cool place to stay. It will take several days to restore all power so Virginians should plan accordingly. This is not a one day situation; it is a multi-day challenge. In particular, I ask the members of the media to help broadcast information regarding the location of all cooling shelters in the state. Cooling shelters are run by localities, so as that information continues to be released I ask that our local radio, television, print and online media outlets get those locations out as quickly and broadly as possible. In this difficult situation we must all work together to help one another."
Last night's thunderstorms caused the broadest non-hurricane related power outage in Virginia history. In addition, today's forecast calls for the possibility of additional thunderstorms this evening and tonight, with the potential for the storms to become severe. As temperatures continue to reach the triple-digits in the days ahead the Governor is calling for all Virginians to help one another as power outages could last for a number of days.
Specifically the Governor asks:
· Neighbors to check in on one another and offer assistance to those without power
· Media to work with local governments to broadcast as widely as possible the locations of all local cooling stations. Cooling stations are run by localities and therefore announcements regarding their locations are done on a city by city, county by county basis. Media are asked to stay in close contact with local officials and utilize all communication platforms to help Virginians find
· Virginians with power, or on a mobile device, should check http://virginiaderecho.tumblr.com/ periodically for a rolling list of all known local cooling stations and share that information with friends, family and neighbors
Under state law, the governor declares a state of emergency so that state resources can be made available. This emergency declaration ensures a fully coordinated state response to support local response and recovery efforts. A declaration also expedites timely deployment of personnel, equipment and supplies to impacted areas.
· The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating the state's response with increased staffing.
· Virginia Department of Transportation crews are working to clear debris and ensure roads are safe for travel.
· Virginia State Police are assisting with traffic control and security.
· The Governor has authorized up to 300 National Guard members to assist with recovery