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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: September 12, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Department of Emergency Management: Jeff Caldwell,, (804) 897-9730

Virginia Opens Two State-Managed Shelters for Hurricane Florence

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced today that Virginia is opening two state-managed shelters this morning to assist residents evacuating in anticipation of Hurricane Florence. The state shelters at Christopher Newport University in Newport News and at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg will provide additional capacity to assist residents leaving areas of Virginia under mandatory evacuation orders, and those coming into Virginia from other states who have nowhere else to shelter.

Currently, 24 localities are opening local shelters for their residents. The two state shelters augment the Commonwealth’s ability to assist citizens in need.

“Virginians are heeding our advice to seek higher ground and safe shelter in advance of Hurricane Florence,” said Governor Northam. “We encourage citizens to seek shelter first with friends and family, to consider hotels outside of evacuation areas, and then look to local shelters, and lastly to state shelters. Leave early. Plan to be off the roads before the storm arrives to avoid unsafe driving situations and traffic congestion, and stay put until the storm passes.”

If an event’s actual or projected demand for sheltering exceeds the local jurisdiction’s capabilities, mutual aid agreements are activated between other communities. When necessary, the Commonwealth provides assistance to local and regional sheltering operations and can operate state-coordinated regional shelters.

Important Shelter Information

  • No identification or proof of residency is required to seek shelter.
  • For a list of shelters open in your area, visit your local government’s website and social media pages.
  • Be sure to include medications, hearing aid batteries, reading glasses, special medical equipment (oxygen tank, tubing, nebulizer kits, catheters, etc.).
  • If you have electrical medical equipment that will need to be recharged, bring the appropriate charging cords, spare batteries and other equipment with you to the shelter.
  • If your medication has run out, please bring your prescription bottle.
  • For more information about locally available social services you can contact 2-1-1 statewide, or in some communities, you can call 3-1-1- for local information.
  • If you need more shelter information, you can contact your locality social services department. Individuals contacting 2-1-1 who require relay service due to hearing impairment need to dial 7-1-1 for Virginia Relay then 1-800-230-6977.
  • Service animals will be permitted at all shelters.
  • Services will be available for people with disabilities and/or with access and functional needs regardless of whether they are accompanied by personal care providers or family.
  • State-coordinated shelters will provide only basic, necessary services and support to help ensure disaster survivors are able to stay safe, healthy and can begin the recovery process.

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