RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) officials have urged everyone to prepare for the possibility of extended power outages during and after Saturday forecasted ice storm.
VDEM employees met with localities and the National Weather Service (NWS) on Friday to prepare for the icing event, according to Deputy Director of Communications Jason Elmore.
“Not only do we have to worry about the ice that’s falling, but refreezing if any of it does melt,” Elmore warned. “There's probably a pretty good chance there will be power outages across the Commonwealth.”
NWS Wakefield issued an ice storm warning in effect for much of Central Virginia from Friday night through Saturday night.
Corrected for timing: ICE STORM WARNING now through Sunday AM. 1/4" to 1/2" ice accretion likely. Isolated higher amounts. Power outages likely. pic.twitter.com/JU3BqJlwft— Zach Daniel (@ZachDanielCBS6) February 12, 2021
Elmore urged residents to prepare for the possibility that the power could be out for at least 24 to 48 hours.
“We want to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best,” he stated.
VDEM recommended people charge all mobile devices in the event of an outage.
Elmore said he also cut down any tree branches around his home that had the potential to fall on cars or property.
“Preparation is always something good to be done well in advance. But you still have time to make a quick run to the store for bottled water,” Elmore cautioned on Friday. “The roadway situation today is getting better as the day goes on. We don’t want to try to be out there tomorrow morning.”
Officials are urging people to stay home and only drive if absolutely necessary.
Red Cross Communications Manager Jonathan McNamara also encouraged Virginians to ready an emergency kit ahead of the winter weather.
“Make sure you have extra blankets and extra food on hand,” he said.
McNamara urged homeowners with generators to only operate it outside and to check the user manual.
“Each family is unique. My family, I have young kids. I have a pet. I need to include those in my preparations and plans for this weather event like any weather situation,” he explained.
Make sure your home is stocked with flashlights and batteries, non-perishable foods, medications, and other necessities to ride out an extended outage.