Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office issued another update this morning on response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of last weekend’s deadly storms in Virginia:
Governor Bob McDonnell today issued the following update regarding Virginia’s ongoing recovery from severe storms that struck the Commonwealth June 29-30.
As of 10 a.m., power companies are reporting that approximately 107,300 customers remain without power statewide. Dominion Virginia Power reports 24,096 outages, with 8,900 of those in northern Virginia. APCO reports 81,273 without power, with 18,951 of those in the city of Lynchburg and 10,589 in the city of Roanoke. Electrical cooperatives have 1,975 customers without power.
Verizon reports that all 911 systems are back to normal operations. To help in recovery, Verizon has provided three mobile telecommunications centers to Lynchburg, Max Meadows and Alexandria. These also serve as additional cooling centers in those localities.
“Virginia continues to recover from last week’s historic storms,” said Governor McDonnell. “Because of the hard work of emergency responders from both the public and private sectors, power is being restored to residents who have endured outages since the storms. Additional crews are being brought in from other states to speed recovery efforts. With record temperatures continuing to slow response, and making power outages even more difficult to endure, the Commonwealth is working closely with power companies and is offering all available state resources to speed response wherever and however possible. In the meantime, as this hot weather continues without immediate relief in sight, citizens need to protect themselves from the high temperatures we are experiencing and help their neighbors. I ask all Virginians to please continue to look out for one another as we continue to get power restored and damage cleaned up. This recovery effort depends upon all Virginians working together.”
Twelve storm-related fatalities have been confirmed in Virginia: two in Albemarle County, two in Bedford County, one in the city of Chesapeake, three in Fairfax County, one in Loudoun County, one in Montgomery County, one in the city of Richmond and one in the city of Roanoke.
Current state efforts to respond to the aftermath of the derecho include:
· The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has coordinated delivery of water, generators and other supplies to localities. For example, 69,400 gallons of water has been supplied to Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt and Page. Twelve generators currently are in use in Alleghany, Botetourt, Highland and Rockingham counties and the town of Vinton and city of Covington. Heavy equipment including forklifts was provided to Albemarle County and Charlottesville. Advanced life support ambulances went to Alexandria from Halifax and Chesterfield counties.
· VDEM has set up an event blog to record agency response, track the opening of cooling centers and provide information to the public at www.virginiaderecho.tumblr.com
· The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is coordinating with utility workers to open roads so that power lines can be repaired. There are two primary roads (numbers 1-599) and 66 secondary roads (numbers 600 and above) closed due to downed trees and debris. Drivers are reminded that if they approach a traffic signal that is without power, they should treat the intersection as a four-way stop. Call 511 or visit www.511virginia.org for road conditions and report road issues to 1-800-FOR-ROAD.
· Virginia State Police are assisting various localities by providing traffic control at intersections where traffic signals are without power.
· The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) issued safety information about avoiding heat-related illness and food safety:
o Virginians should take precautions from the effects of high heat:
§ Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Visit malls, local libraries, local cooling centers, or stay with friends or family who have air conditioning.
§ Take cold baths and showers to cool down.
§ Drink 2-4 glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour, regardless of your activity level.
§ Be aware that fans by themselves in extreme temperatures are not enough to prevent heat-related illnesses.
§ Those with immediate need for shelter, food or water should check with local social services departments, county or city governments, or volunteer groups for assistance.
o Virginians should take precautions for food safety.
§ If your power has been out for 48 hours or longer – and you have not made other provisions for keeping your food at or below 41 degrees F – do not eat it.
§ Food must be kept at 41 degrees F or below before cooking or eating it. If you do not have a thermometer to track temperature or you are not sure, discard the food.
§ If you are using a cooler, ice needs to be replaced at least every 24 hours, and temperature must be kept constantly cold at 41 degrees or below for food safety.
§ When in doubt, throw it out.
Local governments are actively responding to the storm’s aftermath:
· 45 localities have declared emergencies, and 13 local emergency operations centers remain open to coordinate assistance to their residents.
· 11 local shelters are open, although this number changes with need.
· Localities are opening cooling centers to provide daytime relief from the heat for their citizens. To find cooling shelters, people should listen to their local media, call their local emergency management officials or go to www.virginiaderecho.tumblr.com
Many volunteer groups are helping affected residents:
· Giant Foods donated a generator to an assisted living facility in Fairfax County.
· Operation Blessing provided a refrigerator truck to Highland County.
· Gleaning for the World provided 500 gallons of water to Bath County.
· Local volunteer groups are assisting with debris clean up and in staffing points of distribution for supplies.
· American Red Cross and Virginia Baptists are providing meals in Bath County.
· Mercy Chefs are assisting with feeding in a Lynchburg shelter.
· Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia Disaster Relief is supporting a shelter in Lynchburg and also providing chain saw service.
· Gleaning for the World has donated truckloads of water, and God’s Pit Crew has donated truckloads of Gatorade.
· North American Mission Board provided 2,500 cases of water in Roanoke.
· Workers in the Virginia Emergency Operations Center are matching corporate donations with needs in localities and responding to calls from residents with unmet needs related to the storm.