A Commonwealth of Virginia Website
Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: January 20, 2022
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Macaulay Porter, Macaulay.Porter@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Emergency Management, lauren.opett@vdem.virginia.gov

Governor Youngkin Declares State of Emergency in Advance of Winter Weather Expected Later This Week

RICHMOND, VA—Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency today due to several rounds of winter weather that will impact several areas of the Commonwealth beginning Thursday and lasting through Saturday. Current weather forecasts indicate the largest threat will be for the Hampton Roads and Central Virginia regions. This weather system will have significant impacts on travel conditions and as with previous storms, could produce downed trees and electrical outages. The executive order is designed to help the Commonwealth prepare for, respond to, and recover from any impacts and to streamline processes that provide assistance to localities and communities affected by the storm.

“I am declaring a state of emergency today to aid in the response to the impending winter weather and to provide additional resources to address potentially high snow accumulations, transportation issues, and the potential for power outages,” said Governor Youngkin. “I urge all Virginians to monitor their local weather forecasts and take personal safety precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of their families.”

Governor Youngkin is asking everyone to be weather aware and prepared by taking the following actions:

  • During a winter storm, stay off the roads as much as possible and only drive when absolutely necessary. Always give snow plows and responders the right of way.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any other partially enclosed area.
  • Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks. Always avoid overexertion when shoveling.
  • When severe weather occurs, plan to check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives.
  • If you must travel, know road conditions before you leave home. Visit 511Virginia.org or call 511 for road condition updates.
  • Protect yourself from Frostbite. Hands, feet and face are the most commonly affected areas so wear a hat, mittens (which are warmer than gloves) and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.
  • Keep dry. Change out of wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer or heavy clothing.
  • Prepare your home
    • Make sure your home is properly insulated
    • Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors
    • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts
    • Have additional heat sources on hand in case of a power outages
    • Keep a fire extinguisher accessible
    • Replace the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide detector annually
  • Prepare your car
    • Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, be sure to have yours tested
    • Check your car’s antifreeze level
    • Have your radiator system serviced
    • Replace your car’s windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mix
    • Proactively replace your car’s worn tires and wiper blades
    • To help with visibility, clean off your car entirely – including your trunk, roof, windows and headlights
    • Please heed warnings to avoid travel. If you absolutely have to be on the roadway, prepare your vehicle and have a kit for you and your passengers. This could include items such as:
      • Blankets
      • Drinking water and snacks for everyone in the car, including pets
      • Boots
      • Basic first-aid kit
      • Warm coat and insulating layers (sweatpants, gloves, hat, socks,)
      • Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
      • Basic set of tools
      • Car emergency warning devices such as road flares or reflectors
      • Ice scraper/snow brush
      • Jumper cables/jump pack
      • Fire extinguisher
      • Cash
      • Items for children such as diapers, baby wipes, toys, etc.
      • Flashlight, with extra batteries
      • Hand warmers
      • Paper map
      • Portable smartphone power bank
      • Extra medication
      • Garbage bags
      • Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
      • Tarp, raincoat and gloves
      • Shovel

A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources and to deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, and other pertinent agencies are already mobilizing and preparing for the impact of these storms.

To learn more about how to prepare yourself, your family, and your business for winter weather, visit www.vaemergency.gov/winter-weather. For real-time traffic conditions anywhere in the state, dial 5-1-1 or visit 511Virginia.org.

To read the full text of the order, visit https://www.governor.virginia.gov/executive-actions/

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