Localized Blizzard Conditions Cause State of Emergency in Southwestern Virginia

Picture 5While this week’s winter storm had little impact on our area, other parts of the Commonwealth are experiencing significant weather conditions. Friday evening the Governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency for communities in western and southwestern portions of the state. The severe winter storm that began Thursday is causing blizzard-like conditions, including drifting snow, low visibility and extremely low temperatures.   The storm is expected to continue through Sunday. Impacted localities include Bland, Grayson, Smyth and Tazewell Counties in Southwestern Virginia to Highland County in the   Alleghany Highlands.

“I have directed state agencies including the Virginia National Guard to be ready to respond to any local government’s request for assistance,” said Gov. McDonnell.   “These blizzard conditions make travel extremely hazardous, and everyone is urged to avoid travel unless they absolutely must.”

The combination of wind and saturated ground could cause power outages, leaving people without heat during very cold weather.   Those experiencing heavy snow and high winds should be prepared to lose power and know how to get help from local emergency responders if necessary.

Travelers are urged to check road conditions before leaving home by calling 511 or logging in to 511Virginia.org.