Storm Update

Updated 11-27-12 @ 4:55 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ANNOUNCES FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION HAS BEEN GRANTED
Funds now available for local communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted his November 1 request for a federal disaster declaration. This declaration will provide public assistance to our state agencies, counties, cities, towns, and public service districts with ongoing recovery and repair efforts resulting from Hurricane Sandy.

“We are extremely appreciative of this assistance FEMA will be providing. Many towns across West Virginia experienced extensive damage, and these federal funds will go a long way in helping these communities recover,” said Gov. Tomblin. “I know we still have West Virginians who are struggling, and I’ve requested additional help for these families. While I’m hopeful we will hear back soon, my request is still under review by FEMA.”

The declaration provides assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged between October 29 and November 8, 2012. Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lewis, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur, Webster, and Wyoming counties are now eligible to receive the federal public assistance funding. Hazard Mitigation grants also became available with today’s declaration. All counties are eligible to apply for this financial assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

Updated 11-21-12 @ 1:46 p.m.

Governor Tomblin Declares State of Emergency will be Lifted December 21st
Some counties’ emergency status rescinded today

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today filed a proclamation adjusting the statewide state of emergency declaration first issued due to severe weather, Oct. 29, 2012.

“After I surveyed the damage left behind from the winter storm and Hurricane Sandy first-hand, I knew our hardest hit communities would need additional time and assistance to restore everyday life. That’s why today, nearly a month after high winds, large amounts of snowfall and fallen trees impacted the entire state, I continue to direct state and federal resources at my disposal to assist the most devastated areas with their recovery efforts,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Other areas of the state have begun to return to life as normal and are now self-sustaining. It is my goal to restore everyday life to the entire state no later than Dec. 21st.”

Today’s declaration extends the state of emergency in the following 22 counties until Dec. 21, 2012: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Lewis, Marshall, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur, Webster and Wyoming. These counties will continue to receive state and federal help with debris removal and other needs.

The declaration rescinds the state of emergency previously issued for the following 33 counties: Berkeley, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Pleasants, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel, Wirt, and Wood.

To view the proclamation in its entirety click here.

Updated 11-08-12 @ 4:13 p.m.

Governor Tomblin Provides a Storm Update
West Virginians urged to report storm damage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today encouraged all West Virginians to report any structural damage their homes and/or businesses sustained during last week’s storm to their local emergency management office. The damage reports will be submitted to FEMA as additional documentation for the governor’s request for a major federal disaster declaration. If granted, the declaration will provide both public and individual assistance. Such assistance would help our counties and cities, as well as our homeowners and small business owners in the hardest hit areas recover from the storm.

“I know there are some folks still waiting for their power to come back on. I’m staying in close contact with the power companies and want those customers to know I am continuing to devote all state resources to making sure all power is restored as soon as possible,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I have seen firsthand the damage this storm has done to homes and businesses across the state, and I’m working to get our state some additional assistance. I’ve asked the President for a major federal disaster declaration. If granted, this declaration could provide our families and businesses the support they need to begin repairing their damaged homes and facilities. In order to demonstrate the destruction to FEMA, we need a complete listing of all damage in the state so I’m asking all West Virginians to report their damage to their county’s office of emergency management as soon as possible.
 
“Please know that Joanne and I continue to pray for all those who have been affected the storm. We will do everything we can to help as you begin cleaning up the mess Sandy left behind.”

State resources continue to be devoted to the hardest hit areas. Local emergency management offices remain open and are now assisting with damage assessments. We are down to approximately 15,000 customers without electricity, and shelters remain available in the affected areas.

For a complete listing of county offices, please visit our storm update page at www.governor.wv.gov.

Updated 11-05-12 @ 4:45 p.m.

WV National Guard continues to provide relief for citizens

As of this morning, approximately 600 W.Va. National Guard service members are still on state active duty for storm relief efforts. Across the state, 13 Liaison Teams are assisting county Emergency Operation Centers. In addition, 40 Community Assessment Teams are out in the communities aiding citizens and determining their needs. There are 12 grader teams and 12 loader dump teams that are working in Nicholas, Tucker and Preston counties to assist cleanup efforts. Eight chainsaw teams are assisting with clearing roadways of fallen trees and open routes. Two search and extraction teams are in Nicholas and Randolph Counties.

“Governor Tomblin continues to stress to us that our number one priority right now is to continue our mission of taking care of West Virginians,” said Maj. Gen. James. A. Hoyer, West Virginia Adjutant General. “We continue to work hand in hand with our colleagues from FEMA, other state agencies and local emergency officials to restore the state and its residents back to normal.”

The 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston continues its mission of being a staging area for FEMA materials and supplies.

In addition to search and rescue, timber clearing, debris removal and many other missions, the West Virginia National Guard is making sure that polling places in the affected counties are up and running even if they don’t have power.

“We realized that some of the areas may still be without power on Election Day,” said Hoyer. “My staff worked over the weekend with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office and with local county election officials to identify those polling places that need help.” The WVNG is deploying a few specialized tents to those identified areas. Each tent comes with a generator that is used to provide electricity, lights and heat for the voters.

“We view this duty as very important for the people of West Virginia,” said Hoyer. “The great thing is that we were able to accomplish this mission without affecting our current operations in providing support and relief around the state from the storm.”

Counties that have identified polling places that need assistance are Nicholas, Barbour and Tucker. However, the Guard is on standby to assist with more if needed.

Updated 11-03-12 @ 3:27 p.m.

Storm Briefing and Press Conference with Gov. Tomblin and Sec. Napolitano

Gov. Tomblin, Sec. Napolitano, Hoyer Governor Addresses Gathering and Introduces Napolitano
Napolitano ERT briefing Governor Greets Napolitano Planeside

Updated: 11-02-12 @ 2:26 p.m.

Unplugging appliances will help avoid a power surge

Nearly half of all power has been restored in the state and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is offering tips on how to reduce the risk of a voltage surge or a voltage spike as power is restored. A surge can destroy or severely weaken a device.

To reduce the risk of a voltage surge when power is restored, residents should consider the following actions:
  • Unplug or turn off all appliances This may include your furnace, refrigerator, computer, stove, water heater, TV, VCR and microwave.
  • Keep one light turned to the on position so you'll know when electricity has been restored
More than 725,000 residents were initially affected due to power outages following the snow storm caused by hurricane Sandy. Find more information about power outage safety online at www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx and www.firstenergycorp.com/content/customer/outages_help/what_to_do_if_youlosepower.html or by calling your local power company.

Updated: 11-01-12 @ 3:00 p.m.

Expiration Dates Extended for Motor Vehicle Registrations and Driver’s Licenses

DMV Commissioner Joe Miller announced today that due to the damaging effects of Hurricane Sandy, he has authorized an extension of the expiration of West Virginia passenger vehicle registrations and expiring driver’s licenses/identification cards.

The extension is effective today, November 1, 2012 and covers customers who had vehicle registrations scheduled to expire on Oct. 31, 2012. The expiration date is now extended to Nov. 15, 2012. The expiration date for driver’s licenses and identification cards scheduled to expire between Oct. 29, 2012, and Nov. 15, 2012, has been extended until Nov. 15, 2012. This extension includes waiver of any late fee penalties as well as the six month retesting requirements.

These extensions apply for customers statewide at any of DMV’s Regional Offices.

For more information, please contact the WV DMV at 1-800-642-9066, or visit the DMV website at www.dmv.wv.gov.

Updated: 11-01-12 @ 1:00 p.m.

Health officials urge caution about using vehicles as warming stations

Crews continue to work across West Virginia restoring electricity to homes that have been without power since Tuesday and health officials are reminding residents to use extreme caution when using vehicles as warming stations due to carbon monoxide. Even vehicles with catalytic converters can produce substantial amounts of carbon monoxide if they are left idling in an enclosed space such as a closed garage or if there are exhaust system leaks.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Commissioner for Public Health and State Health Officer Dr. Marian Swinker said, “It is imperative that residents understand the dangers carbon monoxide may pose when vehicles are used as warming stations. Sleeping in an automobile where exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide may enter, can cause serious illness or even death because it is a colorless and odorless gas. The best option for residents needing heat is to utilize a local emergency shelter or stay with other family members while electricity is restored. More than 50 shelters are operational across West Virginia.”

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

To locate active shelters in West Virginia visit www.governor.wv.gov/pages/shelters.aspx or call the local health department or emergency services in your area.

Updated: 11-01-12 @ 12:15 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN TO REQUEST MAJOR FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION
Gov. Tomblin, Sen. Manchin to survey storm damage today, Nov. 1st

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will request a major federal disaster declaration today. If granted, this request will bring both public and individual assistance to the hardest hit areas of the state.

“As I’ve toured the affected areas of our state and seen the damage first-hand, it has become abundantly clear that West Virginians need additional assistance. Today, I will ask for a major federal disaster declaration,” Gov. Tomblin said. “We’re making progress, but I understand when it’s your power that’s off or your road that’s closed, it can be very frustrating. I ask for your continued patience as local, state, and federal agencies—as well as utility crews—continue to work around the clock to get utilities restored and roads open.”

"We're touring some of the hardest-hit areas of our state today to let people know that help is on the way. We're hoping to see the areas that have been inaccessible because of the extremely heavy snowfalls and make sure that people get the supplies they need. We're working very closely together in a coordinated effort with FEMA, the National Guard, the Governor's Office and local officials to help people restore their lives as quickly as possible,” Sen. Manchin said. “I fully support Governor Tomblin's request for a Major Disaster Declaration, and I will work with the rest of our Congressional delegation and the administration to make sure that request is expedited."

Gov. Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin will assess storm damage and meet with local emergency management officials today. They will visit Barbour, Randolph, Tucker and Upshur counties.

Updated: 10-31-12 @ 8:00 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN, SENATOR MANCHIN AND CONGRESSMAN RAHALL ASSESS STORM DAMAGE

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall today visited communities to assess storm damage and meet with local emergency management directors. The officials also spoke with individuals affected by this devastating storm and saw some of the damage firsthand.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking to meet with folks who have had their homes and businesses destroyed by the storms” Gov. Tomblin said after assessing storm damage. “As I told each and every person I met with today, I'm doing everything within my power to help all those who have been affected by the storms. Tomorrow I will request a major federal disaster declaration, which if granted will bring additional federal assistance. We will continue working around the clock until all West Virginians are safe, our roads are open, and our utilities have been restored.

“As I travel around with Governor Tomblin and Congressman Rahall, what we’re seeing is a strong team effort, with FEMA working closely with the state and our National Guard. Our top concern right now is contacting the people we haven’t been able to reach because of heavy snowfall in the mountains. I know all West Virginians will join me in praying to the good Lord that they’re all right as we work feverishly to reach them," Sen. Manchin said. “On top of those concerns, my heart is just broken by the devastation I saw firsthand today, but I am also truly inspired by the deep resilience of the people of our great state. Inspiring is the only way to describe the determination of these families and businesses to put their lives back together - and to help their neighbors do the same. As West Virginians, we will all keep anyone who has been affected in our prayers and lend a hand when we can. I want to assure all West Virginians that I am working continuously to make sure that our state gets what we need from the federal government, which is why I was pleased to learn today that FEMA is sending additional food, water and health-related supplies, along with power generators. They're also sending four 60–person chainsaw crews to accelerate power restoration. For any West Virginians with questions, concerns or ideas about how the federal government can better help those in need, please don't hesitate to contact my office."

“I am pressing top FEMA officials to make available all possible Federal resources to aid the State in the restoration of power and opening access to roads. In that regard, I understand the U.S. Forest Service has offered its services in removing fallen trees and that food, water and generators are being delivered by FEMA to areas in need,” said Congressman Rahall. “Having seen the widespread damage for myself and spoken in depth with state and local officials, I will continue to make the case to Federal officials in order to assist our families and businesses in their recovery.”

As the storms begin moving out of the state, we continue devoting all resources to keeping citizens safe, restoring utilities and clearing all roadways. Our Division of Highways and Forestry are assisting utility crews, in their efforts to access necessary areas, by clearing snow and tree debris from roadways. The latest reports estimate we still have approximately 195,000 customers without power.

“I encourage all West Virginians to check on your neighbors, friends and family—take care of each other,” Gov. Tomblin said. “With power companies predicting it may be several days before the power will be restored in all areas, I want to make sure our families are safe. If you or someone you know has been displaced or is without electricity, I urge you to seek out a shelter in your area for a meal and a warm place to stay.”

Updated: 10-31-12 @ 3:22 p.m.

Health officials urge caution when working outdoors to avoid excessive exertion

Heavy snowfall across WV from the remnants of Hurricane Sandy has health officials reminding residents to avoid excessive exertion that can lead to heart attacks as wind speeds increase.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Commissioner for Public Health and State Health Officer Dr. Marian Swinker said, “We know that cold weather can increase extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. If you have to do heavy outdoor chores or insist on shoveling snow, dress warmly and work slowly. Near freezing temperature is considered a factor for 'cold stress'. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can more rapidly leave your body. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems. Your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it.”

Dr. Swinker says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following tips for dressing warmly and staying dry.

Adults and children should wear:
  • a hat
  • a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
  • sleeves that are snug at the wrist
  • mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
  • water-resistant coat and boots
  • several layers of loose-fitting clothing
Dr. Swinker says, “Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Stay dry—wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.”

If at any time you experience chest pains, feeling lightheaded or shortness of breath, or if your heart starts racing, you should head indoors right away. If you think you might be experiencing a heart attack or if medical attention is needed call 911.

To learn more about preparedness, visit www.wvdhhr.org/healthprep

Updated: 10-31-12 @ 3:07 p.m.

Center for Threat Preparedness warns about downed power lines

WV Department of Health and Human Services Center for Threat Preparedness is warning people over the next couple of days to stay away from any power lines brought down by strong winds or snow.

Center for Threat Preparedness Director Jerry Rhodes said, “Power lines that have fallen to the ground may look safe but they’re very often still live. Live lines can kill. Stay well away from them and call the power company if you see any downed lines.”

If people see lines down they should treat them as live at all times, keep themselves and others well clear and contact Appalachian Power on the emergency line (800) 982-4237 or First Energy at (888) 544-4877 immediately.

Power companies have the latest information posted online. People with mobile phones and web browsers may wish to save their power company’s webpage to their favorites: Rhodes said people wanting further information should call their power company.

The National Weather Service is monitoring severe weather for West Virginia; residents are encouraged to stay informed.

The mission of the Center for Threat Preparedness is to ensure adequate capacity and effective systems ready to respond to natural and intentional threats to the public’s health through collaborative leadership and coordination.

More information about the Center for Threat Preparedness is available at http://www.healthprep.wv.gov.

Updated: 10-31-12 @ 2:53 p.m.

WV DHHR Center for Threat Preparedness urges caution in use of chain saws
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Center for Threat Preparedness is encouraging individuals to be aware of the risk of chain saw injury during tree removal.

Center for Threat Preparedness Director Jerry Rhodes noted, “If you must use a chain saw, follow the instructions to be safe. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, thick work gloves, chaps, and boots. Always hold the saw at waist level or below, and make sure that others remain far away.”

Bent trees or branches can also be an issue, especially if they have gotten twisted, hung up on, or caught under another object. If the tree or the branch is suddenly released, it may strike the person cutting it, or a bystander.

Rhodes added, “If you are cut, put direct pressure on the wound to stop bleeding and get medical help as soon as possible.” Tr

ees entangled in power lines must be deferred to the local power company. For downed trees across roadways, calls should be routed through the West Virginia Department of Transportation highways district offices.

More information on chain saw safety is available at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/chainsaws.asp

Updated: 10-31-12 @ 2:20 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN, SENATOR MANCHIN TO MEET WITH EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS
Governor asks West Virginians to check on their neighbors

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin will assess damage and meet with local emergency management officials in Braxton, Nicholas, Fayette and Raleigh counties. The governor continues to work closely with all state agencies and utility companies to coordinate our state’s efforts to restore power and keep all West Virginians safe.

The storm is expected to begin moving out of the state over the next 24 hours, and we are making progress with our recovery efforts. As of this morning, approximately 220,000 customers in West Virginia are without power. Both state highways and forestry workers are working closely with the utility company crews to help clear the roads and restore utilities.

Storm damage continues to evolve and now includes structural collapses. Our local first responders and National Guard continue to monitor potential flooding and are on standby should there be any other structural collapses. Approximately 60 shelters and warming stations are open around the state and are providing meals for people who have been displaced or do not have electricity.

The governor continues to urge West Virginians to remain patient. “The last couple days have been difficult, and unfortunately due to the damage to our power lines, many West Virginians will be without power for several days,” said Gov. Tomblin. “I ask all West Virginians to remain patient, and to do what West Virginians do best—take care of your neighbors.”

"As West Virginians cope with this disaster, I will make sure that the federal government provides our state with the resources we need to recover,” said Sen. Manchin. “There's no better way to get a handle on the situation than to see it firsthand and talk with the families that don't have power or are struggling with the harsh effects of this weather. I want to reassure all West Virginians that I will continue to share what I find with Secretary Napolitano, FEMA, the Red Cross and other organizations."

This afternoon, Gov. Tomblin and Sen. Manchin will visit Braxton County, Nicholas County, Fayette County, and the Raleigh County.

Updated: 10-31-12 @ 7:35 a.m.

Attention All State Employees

With exception of state offices that have been closed due to power outages due to inclement weather all state offices will be open and fully operational today, Wednesday, October 31.State employees are to report to work at their normal business hours unless notified by their supervisor of a specific approved office closure. Caution should be taken as our road crews continue to clean all roadways throughout the state.

Updated: 10-30-12 @ 6:05 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN PROVIDES A STORM UPDATE

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by West Virginia National Guard Major General James A. Hoyer, today provided an update on the state's storm response.

"We are making great progress in clearing our roadways, but we continue to be faced with new challenges as the storm continues to affect the Mountain State. In the higher elevations, over three feet of snow has fallen-with snow continuing to fall in much of the state," Gov. Tomblin said. "I urge all West Virginians to please be patient as we work to clear our roads and restore our utilities-our crews are working as quickly as possible."

There are approximately 270,000 customers experiencing power outages. Throughout the state, a total of 26 shelters are open in Berkeley, Greenbrier, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Upshur and Wyoming counties. FEMA is bringing in 700,000 meals and 1.4 million liters of water that will be distributed across the state.

We continue to coordinate our response efforts with local and federal officials. National Guard troops are working with county emergency offices. Community assessment teams are going door to door to check on state residents. West Virginians should call 911 if they have an emergency. Gov. Tomblin asks West Virginians to check on their neighbors and take care of one another. Additional storm updates are available online at https://twitter.com/wvgov.

Updated: 10-30-12 @ 1:25 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY DECLARATION GRANTED TO STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA

AUDIO: Download

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced his request for a presidential emergency declaration for the State of West Virginia has been granted. Much of the state is currently experiencing severe weather including high winds, flooding and blizzard-like conditions with power and water outages affecting many areas.

“As this storm continues to impact our state, I ask all residents to stay off the roads unless it is an emergency,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Our local, state, and—with this emergency declaration—now federal emergency leaders are, working diligently to address the evolving needs of all West Virginians. I again, encourage West Virginians to remain calm, stay off the roads as much as possible, and check on your neighbors, family and friends.”

The presidential emergency declaration allows FEMA to provide direct assistance to West Virginia, including measures to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety.

For continued State of Emergency, storm updates please visit www.governor.wv.gov or www.twitter.com/wvgov.  


Updated: 10-30-12 @ 1:15 p.m.


West Virginia National Guard members aid in storm relief

Members of the West Virginia National Guard are deployed in counties across the state to assess storm damage and provide assistance.

“We have had Guard members on duty throughout the night and early morning,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, West Virginia Adjutant General. “We are taking direction from the county Emergency Management Directors to assign our resources and are working closely with other state agencies to ensure we are responding as quickly and efficiently as we can.”

The West Virginia National Guard has deployed Liaison Officer Teams in Jefferson, Fayette, Berkeley, Greenbrier, Tucker, Pocahontas, Webster, Hampshire and Grant counties. LNO teams act as the focal point between requests for service from the county emergency management offices and the National Guard.

The Guard also has deployed several three-person Health and Wellness teams to go out into communities and check on the citizens of those counties. The teams will conduct interviews with residents to ensure they have everything they need to survive the storm. If team members discover a medical emergency, they will coordinate with local officials to provide medical assistance from local hospitals or EMT stations.

“The situation is extremely fluid right now and the Governor has authorized us to bring on additional Guardsmen as needed,” Hoyer said. “We will be around as long as it takes for people to get some kind of normalcy in their lives. We will continue to work alongside the Department of Transportation, Forestry, Health and Human Resources, State Police and many other agencies and respond to the needs of the citizens.”

Updated: 10-30-12 @ 10:15 a.m.

Reminder: Unsafe use of generators and grills can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning

Many residents turn to gasoline generators, gas or charcoal grills and camp stoves during extensive power outages. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is reminding residents that these appliances may be harmful or even deadly when used improperly because of carbon monoxide (CO).

CO is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if present in sufficient concentration in the ambient air. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and altered mental status. Get fresh air immediately and call 911 if you suspect that you or a family member has carbon monoxide poisoning.

More information about CO is available online at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/co_guidance.asp.

Updated: 10-30-12 @ 8:30 a.m.

Due to the inclement weather affecting the entire state, only essential state employees are to report to work today, Tuesday, October 30th. Non-essential employees are encouraged to stay off the roadways as our our road crews continue their work. Please contact your supervisor if you have questions.

Updated: 10-29-12 @ 5 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN DECLARES STATEWIDE STATE OF EMERGENCY
Weather conditions expected to worsen late Monday and into Tuesday

Audio: Download


Photo Courtesy of the Governor's Office
Gov. Tomblin declares a statewide state of emergency in
preparation for severe weather associated with Hurricane
Sandy
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a statewide state of emergency, effective noon today, and has activated 150 National Guard troops.

"Our troops will assist local responders in the areas we believe will be hardest hit by severe weather conditions. Additionally, our Division of Highways folks began work last night. I continue to encourage West Virginians to prepare their families by gathering necessities," said Gov. Tomblin. "I've already received calls from organizations willing to set up shelters and I'm grateful for the outpouring of support so early in this emergency. I'm asking all West Virginians to please check on and assist your neighbors, especially seniors and others who may have difficulty preparing for and weathering this storm."

The eastern mountain counties are expected to experience blizzard like conditions receiving up to two feet of snow. The eastern panhandle counties are expected to experience flooding, and southern counties have already received some snowfall. While weather conditions could change, forecasts predict high winds and precipitation throughout the state-potentially causing power outages.

The statewide State of Emergency enables the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to operate a round the clock under the governor's direction. For response efforts, Gov. Tomblin has strategically positioned certain state agency personnel and equipment throughout the state.

West Virginians can learn more about how to prepare by visiting www.ready.wv.gov.  


Updated: 10-28-12 @ 7 p.m.


GOVERNOR TOMBLIN UPDATES WEST VIRGINIANS ON STATE’S READINESS IN PREPARATION FOR SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS
Encourages West Virginians to be prepared 

AUDIO: Download


Photo courtesy Gov. Tomblin's Office
Gov. Tomblin speaks to local and state
emergency responders during a conference
call this evening. 
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin this evening provided West Virginians an update regarding the state’s readiness, in preparation for severe weather conditions associated with Hurricane Sandy. 

    “While the path of Hurricane Sandy is more defined today, we cannot be certain of the impact this storm will have on our state. For this reason, we are preparing for all scenarios and asking West Virginians to be prepared. Gather batteries, flash lights, bottled water, non-perishable food items, blankets, medications, a battery-operated radio and other necessities. Be sure to check on each other—family, friends and neighbors,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Our West Virginia National Guard and other resources are on stand-by, so that we may act quickly if needed. Our Department of Highway staff is on call and ready—they have tested their plows and other snow equipment and are scheduled to begin work at midnight tonight. Additionally our utility companies are making preparations.” 

    Although there remains some uncertainty with Hurricane Sandy’s final course, forecasts predict the lower elevations to receive rain or snow, the Eastern and Northern Panhandles to receive severe rain and flooding, and the mountainous regions to receive as much as 2 feet of snow in the higher elevations.
 
    The state’s emergency response team is holding two conference calls a day with local, state and national emergency responders. The Office of Emergency Services is open and monitoring the situation and state agencies remain vigilant to ensure public safety and are preparing for the storm. 

    For more information on how you can prepare, please visit: www.ready.wv.gov



Updated: 10-26-12 @ 4:45 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ENCOURAGES WEST VIRGINIANS TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL SEVERE WEATHER 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today encouraged West Virginians to prepare for potential severe weather conditions associated with Hurricane Sandy.  The National Weather Service is forecasting that Hurricane Sandy will continue to move up the East Coast and inland over the next week.   Although there is some uncertainty with the storm’s final path, current forecasts predict rain, snow and strong winds could move into the state.  The north central part of the state, the panhandles and the higher elevations are currently expected to be affected the most. 

“This afternoon, I’m encouraging all West Virginians to begin preparing for the possibility of severe weather.  I encourage folks to prepare  by gathering batteries, flash lights, bottled water, non-perishable food items, blankets, medications, a battery-operated radio and other necessities during the next few days, and to make sure friends, family members and neighbors are also prepared,” said Gov. Tomblin.  “I will continue to monitor this storm very closely, and I will stay in close contact with our Office of Emergency Management Services to make sure our state is prepared should we experience hazardous conditions.”   

From the Division of Highways, West Virginia National Guard to our higher education institutions, state agencies remain vigilant to ensure public safety and are preparing for the storm.  Several utility providers have indicated they too are preparing to respond.

For more information on how you can prepare, please visit: www.ready.wv.gov.

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