Virginians who had to endure stifling heat after storms caused massive power outages last summer should prepare to hunker down against the cold this time around, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Saturday as Hurricane Sandy churned along the Atlantic Coast.
In a telephone briefing with reporters, McDonnell said Sandy is expected to make landfall north of Virginia sometime Monday, but because the storm is so massive the exact track doesn’t matter much. Virginia is sure to get walloped with strong winds, heavy rain and flooding, he said.
“Our biggest concern remains that this is going to be a strong storm of lengthy duration,” McDonnell said. “Behind the storm, we expect some significantly colder temperatures.”
Lows will dip into the 30s in southwestern and western Virginia and the 40s elsewhere, and some areas may get snow, the governor said. He said residents should make sure they have plenty of blankets to ward off the chill.
In late June, a powerful line of windstorms left hundreds of thousands of Virginians without power during a triple-digit heat wave.
in anticipation of another widespread outage, Dominion Virginia Power and other utility companies summoned help from out of state.
McDonnell said trees still haven’t lost most of their leaves because of the mild fall, which makes them more susceptible to being toppled onto power lines. Wind speeds of 60 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph, are expected along the coast along with up to 10 inches of rain. Inland, along the Interstate 95 corridor, Virginians can expect up to 5 inches of rain and wind gusts up to 50 mph, he said.
The state is not ordering mandatory evacuations or reversing Interstate 64 lanes to get Hampton Roads residents away from the coast, McDonnell said. However, local governments are authorized to order evacuations as they see fit.
Charlie Kilpatrick, deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, said highway crews were prepared for road clearing and, in western Virginia, snow removal.
The Virginia National Guard began positioning personnel along the coast and was authorized to call up to 500 troops to active duty. The Navy, which had originally ordered its Hampton Roads ships out to sea, reversed course Saturday and directed remaining ships to ride out the storm in port.
Residents in the eastern third of the state flocked to grocery and hardware stores to stock up on essentials: bottled water, batteries, generators, flashlights and nonperishable food.
Virginia officials hoped for minimal disruption of in-person absentee voting for the Nov. 6 election. McDonnell said restoring power to polling places and voter registrar offices will be a priority after the storm.
State Board of Elections Secretary Don Palmer said registrars are urged to keep offices open and continue the in-person absentee balloting as long as worker and voter safety is not compromised. The board also is encouraging local officials to accommodate voters who want to vote absentee because of the potential impact of the storm.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.