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Newsroom & Archives  

Disaster Information Mini-Site

VDEM Disaster News

Feb 13

Richmond City Opens Cold Weather Day Warming Sites

The City of Richmond has opened two emergency shelters to assist City residents in the event power outages occur as a result of the winter storm. Residents who reside in areas where power outages are frequent during storms are advised to seek shelter now before traveling conditions deteriorate. The City’s Emergency Shelter locations are: Linwood Holton Elementary School 1600 West Laburnum Avenue James Blackwell Elementary School 1600 Everett Street

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Mixed Precipitation Causing Icy Morning Commute

COLONIAL HEIGHTS – Along with plowing and salt/sand treatment, the mixed precipitation is helping to break down snow accumulation in the Richmond District. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews and contractors continue to plow and treat roads, focusing on major routes. Most interstates and primary roads are in minor to moderate condition, meaning that ice or snow cover some portions of the roadway. Crews have begun to plow and treat some secondary roads and VDOT reminds drivers to park in a driveway, if possible, to allow equipment to pass through narrow neighborhood roads. Drivers are encouraged to delay travel unless absolutely necessary. Dropping temperatures and additional snow accumulation may continue to cause hazardous driving conditions throughout the day. Drivers should check before traveling for the latest traffic and road conditions.


Night Plowing

Five and a half hours into the storm the snow is deep enough for a gang of plows to push Route 60. (Photo by D. Allen Covey, VDOT)

Night Plowing

Five and a half hours into the storm the snow is deep enough for a gang of plows to push Route 60. (Photo by D. Allen Covey, VDOT)

Feb 12

Snow Removal Efforts Continue As Snow Falls

COLONIAL HEIGHTS – As snow continues to fall in most of the Richmond area, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews and contractors are working 12 hour shifts in an effort to remove snow and minimize ice accumulation on roadways. Nearly 3,000 pieces of equipment, including trucks, graders, front loaders and over 500 snow plows are available and mobilized throughout the Richmond District. Crews will continue snow removal services until all roads are passable, focusing first on interstates and primary roads (routes numbered 1 - 500) and then shifting to high volume secondary roads. VDOT’s goal is to make roads passable within 48 hours of the storm’s end.

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Stay Safe in Major Winter Storm

RICHMOND, Va. – As a major winter storm moves across the Commonwealth, residents should protect themselves by limiting travel, staying inside and taking safety precautions. Beware of hazards when using alternate heat sources Don’t use extension cords to plug in space heaters. These should be plugged directly into wall outlets. If your heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, don’t use it. Do not place space heaters near things that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture or bedding. Never touch electrical equipment if the ground is wet, unless you are certain that the power is off. If you must use a kerosene heater, be sure there is adequate ventilation by opening an interior door or slightly opening a window. Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use – don’t substitute.

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Winter Travel Info

511Virginia: Call 511 or visit the website for current statewide road conditions and weather-related traffic updates.

Snowplow tracker: Web tool lets you find out where plows have been, where they’re going in northern Virginia, Fredericksburg, Staunton and Culpeper Districts. Watch this video for more information.

Useful videos


VDOT News Release

Motorists urged to avoid or limit travel this evening and tomorrow

RICHMOND – Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews have begun full preparations for the significant winter weather expected to impact the commonwealth today and tomorrow. Anti-icing operations have been conducted on major roads across the state, which started yesterday and continued through this morning. Salt and brine help to melt ice and snow, creating greater friction on road surfaces.

VDOT crews will conduct snow removal efforts throughout the duration of the storm, focusing first on heavily traveled interstate and primary roads, then turning to secondary roads and subdivision streets.

VDOT also has coordinated efforts with utility companies in anticipation of downed power lines. In an effort to restore power as soon as possible, the power company removes the lines, then VDOT removes trees and debris from the roads. Never attempt to drive over or remove downed power lines yourself.

Motorists are encouraged to stay off roads unless travel is absolutely necessary.
Winter weather driving tips and other preparations:
• Monitor your local news sources for the latest weather conditions
• Avoid driving during the storm
• Prepare your vehicle for winter driving conditions, including having an emergency kit in your vehicle
• Prepare your home for winter weather conditions in case of power outages
• Before getting behind the wheel, call 511 or go to to get the latest information on road conditions
• Call VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) to report road hazards or ask road-related questions
For more winter travel information, go to


Helpful Information and Tips

• Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. If possible, delay travel to allow VDOT crews to clear the roads. If you must drive, wear a seatbelt.
• Get current road condition information by calling 511 or visiting Download the 511 mobile app to get the latest road condition information.
• Monitor local weather forecasts so you know how the storm will affect your community.
• Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
• A three-day supply of food includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
• Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
• Bring pets inside during the storm.
• Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space. Follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly.
• Call 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) to report road hazards or ask road-related questions at VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center.
• Have emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
• Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
• If you need help for an elderly or disabled person during the storm, need information on warming shelters, or are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family, call 211 or visit When you call 211, a trained professional will suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide.
• Get winter weather preparedness information at and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.



February 12, 2014

Winter Storm

Whereas, Pittsylvania County has consulted with the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Transportation and does hereby find that:

1. Due to the potential winter storm event, the County of Pittsylvania is facing serious road hazards with fallen trees and power outages for homes and businesses as a result of heavy wet snow.

2. Due to these hazards, a condition of extreme peril of life and property necessitates the Declaration of Emergency.

NOW, THEREFORE, I HEREBY PROCLAIM that an emergency now exists throughout said County; and

IT IS FURTHER PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED that during the existence of said emergency the powers, functions, and duties of the Director of Emergency Management of the County of Pittsylvania, shall be those prescribed by law and the ordinances, resolutions, and approved plans of the County of Pittsylvania in order to mitigate the effects of said emergency.

Effective: February 12, 2014
Otis S. Hawker
Deputy Director of Emergency Management

Jan 17

Be Mobile Ready: Virginia launches free emergency preparedness mobile app

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today a way for Virginians to become “mobile ready” for disasters. The Ready Virginia mobile app, developed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, gives Virginians a new way to prepare for disasters and also to stay informed during emergencies with the latest information.

The Ready Virginia app is available for download in the App StoreSM and in Google Play™ for Android™. Read more at