As McDonnell calls for State of Emergency, Bolling believes snow budget doesn’t need to go up
There is no doubt that the last few days have been difficult for many parts of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here in the Metro-Richmond area, all of the major school districts have been forced to cancel school for three consecutive days. The cancellations are all the result of last weekend’s wicked winter storm that basically paralyzed a large swath of Virginia. Schools and many businesses screeched to a halt and have stayed that way for several days, even though the last snowflake fell early Sunday morning.
State and Local leaders concede that Virginia, which is not accustom to so much snowfall, is not prepared to deal with this kind of weather on a regular basis. While northern states are accustom to dealing with the falling snow, and have resources dedicated to staying ahead of the mess, Virginia has to take it as it comes. That means that the way the roads are cleared and the time that it takes to clear them can often leave a mountain of headaches for people just hoping to take care of daily tasks.
Wednesday, Governor Bob McDonnell issued his second State of Emergency in as many weeks to allow state agencies to prepare for the third major winter event to hit the Commonwealth this season. Three major storms, means three major clean-ups, the most recent (as evidence by the fact that schools were still closed) we have yet to recover from. But despite this clear difficulty, the Virginia’s Lt. Governor believes there isn’t much more we can do.
“The kind of investment that we would have to make to have the equipment and the amount of the equipment,” Bill Bolling told me today on NBC12 First at 4, “would really be disproportionate to the number of times in the course of year that this happens.”
Bolling said that this year has been abnormal and investing in expensive equipment and training hours for government employees, would ultimately be a waste of time and money because there isn’t a great enough need. As a result, the Commonwealth is forced to be patient during the rare 10+ inch snowfall events.
“I grew up in the mountains,” said Bolling, “and I don”t ever remember missing a day (of school) because of snow. But we are just not equipped to deal with it as many are and it just takes us a little longer to get the roads safe.”
This next winter storm is a bit more unpredictable than the last two we have seen this winter. If you’d like to get an idea of what we are in store for, check our NBC12 Weather Department’s blog which is being regularly updated with the latest information on the forecast.
You can see my entire interview from First at 4 with Bolling, which also touches on his work as the Commonwealth’s Chief Job Creator by clicking here.
The release from the Governor’s office declaring a state of emergency can be found below:
Governor McDonnell Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Next Major Winter Storm
Potential for Significant Accumulations of Snow and Ice across Large Portion of Commonwealth.
Virginians Can Check Road Conditions by Calling 511 or by Visiting 511Virginia.org; More Information About Winter Weather Preparedness Available at http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/winter/index.cfm
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency today, authorizing state agencies to assist local governments responding to the winter storm that is expected to affect the Commonwealth early Friday through Saturday.
The storm’s final track and potential snow, ice or rain amounts are still uncertain, but the current outlook calls for the possibility of up to 20 inches of snow and high winds in the northern and western parts of the state; up to three-quarters of an inch of freezing rain for much of western and southwestern Virginia; and heavy rains and high winds in southeastern Virginia.
The precipitation, along with high winds and saturated ground, means that there is a high potential for power outages, hazardous road conditions and blocked roads. Areas that receive significant ice or freezing rain could be without power for several days.
Governor McDonnell noted, “This storm will bring severe weather to many parts of Virginia. Please stay alert to the forecast for your area and make sure your family and neighbors are ready for hazardous weather conditions. As the storm affects your area, please stay off the roads and contact local authorities if help is needed.”
In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia. A state of emergency must be issued in advance to allow for proper and effective preparation. State agencies are getting ready for the storm by taking several actions, including:
• The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has held weather conference calls with the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.
• The Virginia Department of State Police and the Department of Transportation are preparing to keep roadways clear and assist motorists.
• The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring personnel on state active duty. The Virginia Guard Joint Operations Center has started the notification process instructing personnel to report for duty.
• The Virginia Emergency Operations Center will bring in a small number of response team members beginning Friday morning. By Friday night, a larger group from several state agencies, major utilities and other affiliated organizations will be in place.
Virginians can prepare for the storm by having an emergency kit in their home and vehicle that includes water, food, a battery-powered radio, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries. Also, citizens should monitor news outlets for updates on this developing storm, and check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to 511Virginia.org. Virginians are also encouraged to keep handy the emergency numbers and shelter locations for their immediate area, and to contact their local emergency manager if in need of shelter or assistance. If it is an emergency call 911.
In areas where significant snowfall or icing occurs, Virginians are encouraged to stay off the roads until the storm abates and roads are cleared.
More information about winter weather preparedness is available at http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/winter/index.cfm
Detailed information about how Virginians can stay safe during an emergency is available at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and in Spanish at www.ListoVirginia.gov.