The regional emergency operations center for Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia is in high gear.
The EOC says even though the worst is over, we are not out of the woods yet. The snow did not cause much damage to power lines and trees for the center, but as temperatures dip Thursday night, road conditions will once again become treacherous.
The EOC is a place for first responders from Albemarle County, Charlottesville and UVA to come together in one room because that's the easiest way for them to communicate. They ask everyone to stay home, unless you absolutely have to get out, because dipping temperatures can cause wet snow to harden and snap power lines. It will also lead to icy roads.
“Road crews have been out there all night long tackling the primary roads mostly, starting to get to secondary roads but they are still quite snow-covered,” said Kirby Felts, emergency management coordinator for Albemarle County.
The EOC says it is in a "wait-and-see" mode and working hard to keep the roads clear.
Even though the area has not seen widespread power outages, the best advice is to keep your flashlight and emergency supplies handy, just in case.
For those who have to get out, here are some other words of wisdom: If you get stuck in your vehicle, you should run the heater for 10 minutes, then turn it off for 20, and repeat as many times as you have to until help arrives.City of Charlottesville Press Release
As per usual, representatives from the agencies will serve as PIO during this incident. The PIO for the first shift is Miriam Dickler with the City of Charlottesville. The acting PIO can be reached at the EOC by calling 434-296-9680. Ms. Dickler can be reached by cell phone at 434-260-2433. We will send a notification when the acting PIO changes.
• Charge mobile devices so you can continue to hear information from official sources if the power goes out.
Be prepared at Home
Heavy snowfall and ice can isolate you in your home, sometimes for long periods of time. Your primary concerns are the potential loss of heat, power, phone, and a shortage of supplies if the storm conditions continue for more than a day. Here are some tips to help out at home during severe winter weather
Have supplies at home to take care of yourself and your family for at least three days.
A three-day supply of food includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
A battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries will provide emergency information. Be sure to listen to local stations for weather and emergency information.
Have flashlights and extra batteries on hand. Don’t use candles when the power is out.
Stay inside where it is warm and dry.
If there is no heat, close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels, rags or extra clothes in cracks under doors, and cover windows at night to reduce heat loss.
Wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing. Remove layers as needed to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.
Get more details and an emergency supply checklist at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or on the Ready Virginia mobile app.
Be prepared on the Road.
Roads can become very hazardous very quickly. Only travel if absolutely necessary, and if you do be prepared.
Plan your trip and know road conditions before you leave. Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going to www.511Virginia.org.
Put emergency supplies in your car. Use an old backpack or small container. If you become stranded, you will need water and non-perishable food; blankets, hats and mittens; a flashlight and extra batteries; and a whistle to blow to get attention. Other items to include are an ice scraper, can of deicer spray, jumper cables and road flares or a bright LED light that attaches to the vehicle, a bright colored cloth to use as a flag, hand wipes and paper towels, and a small first aid kit. Add a bag of kitty litter or sand for extra weight in your vehicle and also to use for traction in case you get stuck.
Keep your gas tank full. This provides extra weight for traction and helps prevent ice from forming in your fuel line.
Even after roads have been treated with salt and/or sand, drivers should reduce speed and keep a safe driving distance from other vehicles on the road. Driving is most dangerous when the temperature is at or under 32° F. If the road is wet, ice is likely, especially on bridges, ramps and overpasses.
If you get stuck, stay in your car. The Virginia Department of Transportation recommends running the car engine for heat for 10 minutes and then turning off the engine for 20 minutes.
If you use space heaters, plug them directly into wall sockets – don’t use extension cords. Keep space heaters at least three feet from furniture, bedding and draperies. Don’t leave space heaters unattended, and turn them off when you go to bed or leave your home.
Generators should always be run outside, in well-ventilated areas. Follow manufacturer’s directions exactly. Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy.
Kerosene and propane heaters can cause fires if left unsupervised. If you use one, use only the recommended fuel. Always refuel outdoors safely away from your home.
Have your fireplace and wood stove chimneys inspected and cleaned. These often build up creosote, which is the residue left behind by burning wood. Creosote is flammable and must be professionally removed.