GOVERNOR TOMBLIN DECLARES STATEWIDE STATE OF EMERGENCY

6/29/2012

Update: 7/26/2012, 6:00p.m.

Governor Tomblin Requests Individual Assistance from Federal Government

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today requested individual assistance be added to his previously granted federal disaster declaration. If granted, this request will assist with the ongoing recovery and repair efforts in West Virginia following the storms, which ripped through the state between June 29 and July 10. The declaration would provide help to individuals and businesses in the following 24 counties: Boone, Calhoun, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood Counties.

“The storms were unlike any weather event we’d ever faced, and they affected nearly every family and business in the West Virginia. People across the Mountain State had damage to structures and lost food, wages and medicine,” said Gov. Tomblin. “We have spent the last several weeks assessing the damage and gathering the data needed for this request, and it is clear that we have many folks who need this help.”

Gov. Tomblin is specifically requesting individual assistance from the federal government including the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Legal services, Disaster Supplemental Food Nutrition Assistance Program and Crisis Counseling, and Small Business Administration disaster loans. As more assessments are finalized, additional counties may be added to this request. The governor’s request for public assistance to recover from these storms was granted on July 23, 2012.

The line of severe storms, with near hurricane force straight-line winds, crossed West Virginia June 29 creating unprecedented damage to electrical and telecommunications infrastructure, with power outages occurring in all 55 counties. The damage is still being assessed, but initial estimates show the financial losses, emergency response and repair costs will exceed millions of dollars.

Update: 7/13/2012, 4:50 p.m.

Governor Tomblin Announces Outdoor Burning Ban to Be Lifted

Effective tomorrow, July 14, 2012 

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the outdoor burning ban will be lifted, effective tomorrow July 14, 2012. With the approval of the governor, State Forester Randy Dye, in cooperation with Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro, rescinded the outdoor burning ban, which has been in place since July 6, 2012. 

    "We have made significant progress with storm recovery during the past week, and I believe it is safe for residents to burn storm debris that has collected in yards and communities throughout West Virginia. Please use caution and put safety first,” Gov. Tomblin said. 

    Immediately following the June 29 storm, first responders such as volunteer fire departments and local law enforcement were busy dealing with storm response efforts. Now that first responders have the flexibility to respond, if needed, to fire-related incidents and due to recent rainfall throughout West Virginia, the ban is being lifted. 

    “Many areas of West Virginia were abnormally dry when the burning ban was proclaimed, but recent rainfall greatly helped reduce the fire danger,” said State Forester Randy Dye. 

    Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro said, “Thanks to the visitors who have complied with the burning ban on state park, forest and wildlife management properties during the past two weeks. We have had no fire incidents to report during that time, and we ask that continued caution be used when setting up campfires on public land.” 

    Dye also reminded residents to use caution when burning outdoors:
  • Put debris in several small piles instead of one large one.
  • Select a safe place away from overhead power lines, phone lines or other obstructions and where the fire cannot spread into the woods or weedy, brushy areas.
  • Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire and make sure the area is clear of all burnable material.
  • Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area.
  • Stay with the fire at all times until it is completely out. Leaving a fire unattended for any length of time is illegal.
  • Call 911 immediately if a fire does escape.
    To view a copy of the order, CLICK HERE. 
 

Update: 7/13/2012, 2:40 p.m.

Reviewing Our State's Emergency Response
 A column by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin 

    On June 29th, our state was ravaged by a record-setting wind storm. With as much, if not more, force than a hurricane, straight-line winds traveled close to 700 miles in 10 hours with little advance warning. West Virginia experienced sustained winds of 20 to 46 miles per hour, with wind gusts over 80 miles per hour. In this unprecedented storm, West Virginia and nine other states were devastated with more than 4 million customers without electricity. In the days following the storm, West Virginians in every county were facing unusually high temperatures, and many were without electricity or water. 

    Within hours, I knew the damage was widespread, and I declared a statewide state of emergency. I quickly activated the National Guard and the State Emergency Operations Center, and made an early Saturday morning phone call seeking help from FEMA. Our response—on all levels—was quick. 

    Our response teams were very dedicated. During the past two weeks, our local emergency management offices, the National Guard, FEMA, the American Red Cross and countless organizations have provided more than 700,000 meals, over 1.4 million gallons of water, thousands of feeding and care kits for infants, and hundreds of generators to keep our critical life-sustaining facilities operating. Our utility companies have worked around the clock and have now restored power to 99 percent of West Virginians. After two trying weeks, our focus is shifting from providing emergency assistance to rebuilding our communities. 

    The storms have certainly tested our ability to respond to an event that affected the entire state, and I want to be sure we learn from this experience. This week, I announced a storm response review to analyze our emergency response. The review will include state agencies, county and local emergency management offices, 911 centers, the West Virginia National Guard, utility companies, volunteer organizations, hospitals, nursing homes and other critical care facilities, and other related organizations. The information compiled allow us to learn from this experience and help prepare the state for future storm response efforts. 

    While power has been restored to most, crews continue to work as quickly as possible to restore power to the remaining customers. I assure you, I will continue to do everything within my power to help our residents and communities rebuild and return to normal as quickly as possible. Again, thank you to the thousands of individuals who have provided assistance throughout the past weeks; I’m truly appreciative of your generosity and hard work.



Update: 7/13/2012, 11 a.m.

Reporting Damage to Homes 

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Residents with damage to their houses and property should report damages to their local emergency management director. Damages are being reported to state and federal officials in support of a possible major disaster declaration for Individual Assistance from the President. Residents are also encouraged to report damage and losses to their insurance agent for possible reimbursement. Food loss and costs of private generators, including fuel, do not need to be reported to local emergency management directors since these costs are not reimbursable under any Federal Emergency Management declaration. A directory of local emergency management phone numbers is available in the governmental listing of phone books and on the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s webpage at
http://www.dhsem.wv.gov/countycontacts/Pages/default.aspx.  

Media Contact: Terrance D. Lively (304) 558-5380


Update: 7/11/12, 4:35 p.m.

Governor Tomblin Announces Storm Response Review 

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. -Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced a review of West Virginia's response to the recent severe storms. Hours after the storm swept through the state leaving a record 688,000 homes and businesses without power on June 29, 2012, the governor declared a statewide state of emergency to devote all resources to helping those affected by the storm. 

    "Our state has been faced with unprecedented power outages and damage during the past two weeks. As of this morning, over 97% of the state's power has been restored, and our efforts are beginning to transition from response to cleanup and damage assessment," said Gov. Tomblin. "I'm now leading a post-storm review to analyze our emergency response. I want to be sure we learn from this experience, and that we are prepared should the state ever face an even greater emergency in the future." 

    Gov. Tomblin has asked Jimmy Gianato, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Major General James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard, and Peter Markham, General Counsel for the Office of the Governor to supervise the after action review. The review will include state agencies, county and local emergency management offices, 911 centers, the West Virginia National Guard, utility companies, volunteer organizations, hospitals, nursing homes and other critical care facilities, and other related organizations.


Update: 7/6/2012, 6:10 p.m.


Storm Recovery Update: Governor Tomblin Authorizes Burning Ban

Effective immediately

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin continued travelling throughout the state today meeting with storm victims and local leaders regarding recovery efforts. Gov. Tomblin saw the latest storm recovery progress firsthand in Pleasants, Jackson, Mason, Monroe and Summers counties while First Lady Tomblin travelled to Clay, Webster, Pocahontas and Pendleton counties. 

    Due to scarce water supplies and the ongoing emergency response efforts related to the recent storms, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin authorized a burning ban, effective immediately and continuing throughout the state of emergency. 

    “West Virginians across the state continue to clean up yards, homes and communities,” said Gov. Tomblin. “With our emergency personnel working hard to provide recovery assistance, along with the unusually dry conditions, we must take extra precautions to help prevent accidental fires.” 

    The governor’s proclamation authorizes the West Virginia Division of Forestry and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to issue directives regarding the scope of the burning ban. 

    “State resources are stretched to the limit as emergency personnel work to assist residents with repair and cleanup from the storm,” State Forester Randy Dye said. “People are tired, water supplies are down and some roads are still not accessible. As a result, the Division of Forestry is concerned that outdoor burning at this time could create a hazard.” 

    “We are also working to help prevent any unauthorized burning in wildlife management areas,” said Director Frank Jezioro, Division of Natural Resources. 
    For more information visit the Division of Forestry’s website at www.wvforestry.com or the Division of Natural Resources’ website at www.wvdnr.gov.

Click here to read the proclamation.

Update: 7/5/2012, 6:15 p.m.

A Recovery Update from Governor and First Lady Tomblin

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin continued travelling throughout the state today meeting with storm victims and local leaders regarding recovery efforts. Gov. Tomblin saw the latest storm recovery progress firsthand in Wetzel, Marion, Gilmer, Nicholas and Kanawha Counties while First Lady Tomblin travelled to Braxton and Fayette Counties. 

    “We are seeing progress throughout West Virginia, but there is more work to be done as new storms present new challenges,” said Gov. Tomblin. “Today’s lightning strike at Kanawha County’s Emergency Operations Center damaged the facility but not the functionality of the 911 system.” 

    “It never ceases to amaze me—the resilience of West Virginians,” said First Lady Tomblin. “This week I have seen firsthand how groups and organizations come together, not only to help each other but to help their communities as a whole under the most difficult of circumstances.” 

    Truckloads of ice and water continue to be distributed throughout the state. 600 National Guard soldiers performed health and wellness assessments, and delivered food, ice and water. 25 FEMA workers assisted individuals in communities across the state. Power crews restored electricity to more homes and businesses, decreasing the number of outages in the state to 247,000.


Photo Courtesy of Gov. Tomblin's Office
In New Martinsville today, Gov. Tomblin continues to work with Wetzel County Office of Emergency Services leaders, emergency management personnel and National Guard soldiers. Gov. Tomblin has been leading recovery and cleanup efforts, travelling across the state every day since Friday evening's severe storms. He has spent the past six days meeting with local first responders and surveying the damage firsthand.



Photo Courtesy of Gov. Tomblin's Office
At the Mountaineer Food Bank, First Lady Tomblin thanks volunteers and National Guard soldiers for their hard work during the storm recovery process. The food bank is shipping much needed food to pantries located throughout West Virginia. First Lady Tomblin also met with families and seniors affected by the storms in Braxton and Fayette Counties today.



Update: 7/4/2012, 5:40 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN PROVIDES A RECOVERY UPDATE
    
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin continues travelling throughout the state to meet with constituents and local leaders regarding recovery efforts for the fifth consecutive day. 

    “Today’s biggest challenge is the need for ice which is coming from as far away as Louisiana. The good news is that the hard work of thousands of power crews has turned on more lights, decreasing the number of outages to less than 267,000,” said Gov. Tomblin. “Thank you to everyone who has worked through the July 4th holiday and continued to assist with recovery efforts. Your generosity is sincerely appreciated.” 

    The second day of the Capitol food drive sent truckloads of food and monetary donations from citizens and companies to the Mountaineer and Huntington Food Banks. Monetary donations of more than $40,00o coupled with Gov. Tomblin’s Contingency Fund donation of $25,000 brought the total to more than $65,000. Through those donations plus more than 40,000 FEMA provided meals as well as other volunteer organizations, those affected by the storm are beginning to receive much needed food.

Update: 7/3/2012, 8:30 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN PROVIDES STORM UPDATE
Advance Schedule for Wednesday, July 4, 2012 

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin continues to meet with constituents and local leaders regarding recovery efforts. 

    The food drive, which tonight collected more than $60,000 in donations and much needed food, continues at the State Capitol tomorrow, July 4, 2012. Thousands of West Virginians who remain in need can receive the donated food through the Mountaineer Food Bank and Huntington Food Bank network of food pantries located in more than 50 West Virginia counties. 

    Many essential state employees will be working through this Independence Day to continue to meet the needs of the citizens of West Virginia. 

    "This recovery process is a 24-hour operation. While the road ahead remains a challenge, I'm grateful to everyone who has continued to work around the clock to help West Virginians," Gov. Tomblin said. 

    The governor will be travelling to some of the hardest hit areas, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. The schedule is as follows.

8 a.m.
Gov. Tomblin’s food drive begins receiving donated food for storm victims.
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd., E., Charleston, W.Va.

11 a.m.
Gov. Tomblin will visit storm victims at a Boone County Cooling Station.
Racine Vol. Fire Dept, 400 Volunteer St., Racine, W.Va.

NOON
Gov. Tomblin will meet with Logan County Emergency Operations Center personnel and local leaders.
Logan County EOC Office, 26 ½ Main St., Logan, W.Va.

1 p.m.
Gov. Tomblin will visit storm victims at a Mingo County Cooling Station.
Williamson Community Center, 98 Parkway Drive, Williamson, W.Va.

2 p.m.
Gov. Tomblin will meet with Wyoming County Emergency Operations Center personnel and local leaders.
Wyoming County EOC, 911 Cedar Ave., Pineville, W.Va.

3 p.m.
Gov. Tomblin will meet with Mercer County Emergency Operations Center personnel and local leaders.
120 Scott Street Suite 200, Princeton, W.Va.

4 p.m.
Gov. Tomblin will meet with Greenbrier County Emergency Operations Center personnel and local leaders.
Greenbrier County EOC center, 3389 N. Jefferson St., Lewisburg, W.Va.


Update: 7/3/2012, 5:30 p.m.

Audio Update from Governor Tomblin (Right-click and choose "Save Target As" if receiving a password prompt)

Update: 7/3/2012, 3:58 p.m.

Governor Tomblin Holds Food Drive
Non-perishable food collected to benefit W.Va. food pantries

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced he will lead a food drive along with the National Guard and in cooperation with the state Office of Emergency Services, state employees and their families along Kanawha Blvd. beginning at 5 p.m. in front of the Capitol.

     “We are working around the clock with our food pantries to distribute much needed food and water to our families and neighbors. Resources at our food pantries are running critically low,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I ask those who can to provide much needed food.” 

    The food collected will be distributed to those in need through the Mountaineer Food Bank and the Huntington Food Bank network of local pantries which are located in more than 50 West Virginia counties. The most needed items include:

 Canned fruits
Canned vegetables
Canned meats (chicken, tuna, salmon)
Canned soups (with pop tops)
Beef stew
Peanut butter
Dry cereals
Oatmeal
Cream of wheat
Baby food/formula
Shelf-stable milk
Bottled water 

    In addition, Volunteer West Virginia is accepting monetary donations to further support the food drive. Monetary contributions should be written out and addressed to:

Volunteer West Virginia Food Drive
710 Central Ave.
Charleston, W.Va. 25302


Update: 7/3/2012, 12:15 p.m.

5 p.m.                   Governor's Food Drive at the Capitol
                                Front of Governor’s Mansion
                                1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, W.Va.


NOTE: This will be a food collection effort for the Mountaineer Food Bank and Huntington Food Bank who will distribute the food as quickly as possible from their facilities. These food banks supply non-perishable food to pantries located in more than 50 West Virginia counties.


Items needed: 
Bottled Water
Canned fruit 
Canned Vegatables
Canned Meats
Beef Stew
Chili 
Rice 
Pasta
Tomato Pasta Sauce 
Oatmeal 
Peanut Butter
Dry Cereal 
Baby Food
Shelf-Stable milk



Update: 7/2/2012, 5:10 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN PROVIDES STORM UPDATE
State employees to return to work


    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin reports power crews are making progress in restoring power following Friday’s severe storms.    The governor continues to meet with state and local emergency management directors and local first responders around the state. 

     “Since Friday night I have witnessed firsthand West Virginia’s true spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. Folks are coming together to help one another, and we are making progress, but it is going to take time. I ask for your continued patience. I’d like to personally thank the power companies, emergency personnel, the National Guard, and thousands of community volunteers who are working around the clock to help the people of the Mountain State.” 

    Due to the progress, Gov. Tomblin requests all State of West Virginia employees to report to work tomorrow, July 3, 2012 at their regular time unless they hear directly from a supervisor. For more information, state employees can call the state employee help line at 304-558-9117 or1-800-558-9117.

Update:  7/1/2012, 8:30 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN ANNOUNCES ALL JUDICIAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED MONDAY

    On behalf of Chief Justice Ketchum, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announces all judicial offices and Circuit Clerk's offices will be closed tomorrow, July 2, 2012. Any filings due tomorrow will be due the following day. Magistrate judges are to follow their on-call schedule.


Update: 7/1/2012, 5:30 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN PROVIDES UPDATE ON STATEWIDE EMERGENCY RESPONSE

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin continues to work with emergency management personnel around the state to assist in recovery and cleanup efforts following Friday evening's severe storms. He has spent the past two days meeting with local first responders and surveying firsthand the damage around the state. 

    "I know the past few days have been very trying for folks across West Virginia, and unfortunately, the problems we are facing will not be resolved overnight," said Gov. Tomblin. "I can assure you that our emergency management officials and power companies are working around the clock to get things cleaned up. I'd ask that all West Virginians continue to check on their friends and family, stay off the roads as much as possible, and most important, that everyone remain calm." 

    Because of the continued power outages and the limited amount of gas stations currently operating due to a lack of power, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has asked essential state employees to report for work tomorrow morning, Monday, July 2, 2012. The governor has determined that only those state employees providing essential services are required to report for work on Monday, July 2, 2012. For those employees not required to work tomorrow, the governor has indicated that those employees may report to work tomorrow. If those employees do not report, the governor requests that they avoid unnecessary travel while our emergency crews and utility companies continue to aid our families and neighbors. For more information, state employees can call (304) 558-9117. 

    Employees deemed to be providing essential services are those that are designated as such by their respective commissioners, directors, or secretaries; those who work in facilities open on a 24-hour basis; or those who provide services relating to the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens. 

    The Department of Highways is now reporting all major roads are open, and utility companies are working diligently to restore power as soon as possible. Progress is being made every hour -- current outages are down to 493,000 West Virginias from our initial report of 688,000. The West Virginia National Guard has health and wellness assessment teams on the ground going door to door checking on those affected by the storms.

Click here to view the executive declaration.



Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin meeting with emergency management directors early this morning before flying out to meet with first responders in Braxton, Ohio, Berkeley and Randolph counties.Click here to download a full-size version of this photo
Update:   7/1/2012, 10:30 a.m.

Audio Updates from Governor Tomblin
Right-click and choose "Save Target As" if receiving a password prompt


Update 1
Update 2



Update: 6/30/2012, 4:00 p.m.


Audio Update from Governor Tomblin (Right-click and choose "Save Target As" if receiving a password prompt)



Update:  6/30/2012, 12:15 p.m.

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN PROVIDES UPDATE ON STATEWIDE EMERGENCY RESPONSE 


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signs proclamation officially declaring a state of emergency for all 55 counties and giving the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management the powers necessary to devote all resources to helping West Virginians recover from last night’s devastating storm. Click here to download a full-size version of this photo

    CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has worked through the night and this morning with state and federal emergency responders to ensure that all West Virginians are getting the assistance they need following last night's devasting storms.

    "Our emergency responders and service personnel need to get to our families," said Gov. Tomblin. "I'm asking all West Virginians to please stay off the roads unless it is an emergency. This will allow the power companies and state agencies to clear the roads and get power restored as soon as we can. Also, please do what you do best --- help one another. Check on family, friends and neighbors and make sure they are safe. Unfortunately, this is not going to be solved quickly, so I ask that you please stay patient during this difficult time."

    Early damage assessments show the storms left an estimated 688,000 people without power and damage throughout the state. The governor has declared a statewide state of emergency. The emergency declaration allows all government resources to be devoted immediately to helping those in need and restoring power as soon as possible.

    West Virginians without power should stay as cool as possible and drink plenty of water. The elderly and others susceptible to extreme heat should consider moving to an air conditioned location or seeking help if they feel that their health is threatened. All West Virginians are urged to check in on friends and neighbors who may need assistance, and to call 911 in the event of emergency.

    With temperatures rising county officials are opening cooling stations, and we will be releasing a list of those shortly.




Update: 6/30/2012, 11:30 p.m.

 

GOVERNOR EARL RAY TOMBLIN DECLARES STATEWIDE STATE OF EMERGENCY

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced tonight that he has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of West Virginia in the wake of this evening's powerful storms. The storms have left an estimated 500,000 people without power as a result of outages in at least 27 counties. The statewide emergency declaration will allow all government resources to be devoted immediately to helping those in need and restoring power as soon as possible. 

    "The damage from today's storms is widespread and in many places severe," said Gov. Tomblin. "With temperatures near 100 degrees expected this weekend, it's critical that we get people's power back on as soon as possible. We're committing 100% of our state's resources for as long as we need to get this cleaned up." 

    West Virginians without power should stay as cool as possible and drink plenty of water. The elderly and others susceptible to extreme heat should consider moving to an air conditioned location or seeking help if they feel that their health is threatened. All West Virginians are urged to check in on friends and neighbors who may need assistance, and to call 911 in the event of emergency.



Contact Information

Amy Shuler Goodwin
304-558-4977

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