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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: February 6, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Emergency Management: Jeff Caldwell, Jeff.Caldwell@vdem.virginia.gov, (804) 897-9730

Governor Northam Declares State of Emergency in Response to Southwest Virginia Flooding

Severe weather expected to impact all of Virginia over next 24 hours

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency today in response to heavy rains and extreme flooding in multiple jurisdictions in Virginia.

Localities in Southwest Virginia have been particularly hard hit by flooding, and as the storm continues to move east across Virginia, impacts and storm damage are expected statewide.

A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources and position people and equipment to assist in storm response and recovery efforts.

“This weather is potentially dangerous, and rivers and streams can reach flood stage hours after the rain has passed,” said Governor Northam. “I urge all Virginians to monitor forecasts, and be prepared to obey local evacuation orders if needed. We are grateful to first responders who are working to rescue people from flooded homes and keep citizens safe.”

The flooding has affected homes and required rescue of citizens, particularly in Southwest Virginia. According to reports from emergency officials, more than 500 residents in and around the town of Richlands, in Tazewell County, have been displaced by flooding and needed rescue from their homes. A number of roads in Southwest Virginia are closed or washed out.

Virginians should not drive across any flooded roadway, as it only takes six inches of water to move a vehicle, and roads may be washed out beneath the floodwaters.

Severe weather conditions are expected to persist across the Commonwealth for the next 24 hours. State and local officials will continue to monitor weather conditions.

Virginians should follow the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for preparedness updates and their local National Weather Service office for the latest weather forecast, advisories, watches, or warnings.

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