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Virginia National Guard readies to mobilize for Isaias

Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 17:30:05-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Soldiers with the Virginia National Guard will be ready to help along Virginia's Eastern Shore as early as Monday to help local and state agencies respond to the potential impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.

Officials said Sunday that 40 personnel had started to prepare and could be in place as early as Monday for potential missions like "high water transportation using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks and debris reduction using chain saws."

“It is very important that we get our personnel and equipment staged and ready at the right locations before the severe weather hits so we are able to rapidly respond if needed," Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff Brig. Gen. James Ring said.

Ring noted that personnel will follow COVID-19 health protection guidelines like social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings and personal hygiene.

Additionally, Ring said additional members will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett to remotely "provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support."

Gov. Ralph Northam state of emergency declaration Friday authorized the mobilization. It also allows for other state agencies to organize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery.

While Isaias was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, officials said the storm remains a threat.

“Hurricane Isaias is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,” Northam said. “This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”