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Gov. Northam Announces Plans for Handling Hurricane Florence

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Governor Ralph Northam Governor Ralph Northam
Northam has ordered a mandatory evacuation for the Hampton Roads area Northam has ordered a mandatory evacuation for the Hampton Roads area
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

With Hurricane Florence barreling down toward the East Coast and set to make landfall by the end of the week, Virginians are already preparing for worst-case scenarios.

On Monday, September 10, Governor Ralph Northam announced the commonwealth's plans for handling the Category Four storm.

Northam declared a state of emergency two days ago, and now he’s begun issuing mandatory evacuations for parts of the commonwealth.

He is imploring all Virginians to take Florence very seriously.

“This is a serious storm, and it’s going to affect the entire state of Virginia,” Northam said.

As Hurricane Florence edges closer, Northam is calling for a mandatory evacuation of 245,000 Virginians - and failing to comply with the order is a misdemeanor.

“I have decided to order a mandatory evacuation of Zone A in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore,” Northam said.

State officials expect between eight and 20 inches of rainfall across the commonwealth.

“I want to emphasize this hurricane is likely to have impacts statewide,” Northam said. “Not just our coastal areas, but southside, Southwest Virginia are likely to be affected as well, everyone in Virginia needs to prepare.”

Preparations for a worst-case scenario are underway across the state.

“Part of what residents must do is prepare for extended power outages,” Jeff Stern of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said. “We’re not talking a few hours or a few days, but potentially up to a week or two in extreme cases.”

A state of emergency is in place, and 6,000 national guardsmen are ready to respond.

“We will have 1,500 guard personnel on duty as of Wednesday night, with the remainder with mobilization orders at the ready,” Stern said.

The commonwealth is already calling on neighboring states for help, and is asking for support from 21 swift water rescue teams and five incident management teams.

“We will be taxed and challenged with providing state support moving around to support local governments that request it, the local first responders, your fire and rescue EMS personnel, your sheriffs, your police officers, the local hospitals - everybody is going to be severely taxed and challenged,” Stern said.

On Monday, senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner also sent a letter to President Trump requesting a federal emergency declaration which would grant the state access to a wide array of federal resources.

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