Governor declares state of emergency in Virginia

Richmond, Va. - Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency this morning authorizing state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the snow storm currently impacting the Commonwealth.

The governor's office says in a press release more than 12 inches of snow already has been reported in several locations along the northern Interstate 81 corridor. Approximately 170,000 customers are currently without power in Virginia, and that number will likely increase as the storm continues to affect Virginia and winds increase.

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. State agencies have been responding to the since last night.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has 2,424 pieces of state equipment, approximately 7,144 pieces of hired equipment and 818 pieces of interstate contractor equipment available for snow- and ice-control activities. VDOT also has 335,000 tons of salt and 125,000 tons of sand and abrasives on hand. VDOT's goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after the winter storm ends.

The press release also reports Virginia State Police fielded 1,346 calls for service, which included more than 367 traffic crashes and 237 disabled vehicles. As of 10:30 a.m., troopers were responding to a total of 111 incidents across the Commonwealth. The majority of the crashes involve damaged vehicles only and no injuries. The bulk of the crashes are taking place in the Metro Richmond region and the Augusta County-Charlottesville area. Shifts have been extended and additional troopers called out to work. Virginia State Police are still advising motorists to avoid traveling on the roads as this system continues to produce additional amounts of snow in the western, central and northern regions of the state.

The Governor's office says due to the nature of this storm, power companies in Virginia are expecting that it will take multiple days to restore power.

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