Governor Warner has declared a state of emergency for Virginia as the state braces for the effects of Hurricane Ivan. The declaration authorizes state agencies to prepare for possible flooding, tornadoes and mudslides. The state Department of Emergency Management is working with other state agencies and local governments to prepare for any storm-related problems.
The National Weather Service says the rain will be falling on already saturated ground, putting parts of the state at risk of flash flooding. Authorities are warning people against driving through high water. Most of deaths caused by Tropical Storm Gaston a couple weeks ago were people trying to do just that and drowned.
In West Virginia, Governor Wise has declared a state of emergency for all 55 West Virginia counties because of the expected rainfall, high winds and potential flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan.
The emergency declaration allows Wise to activate the National Guard and make emergency purchases. It's also the first step toward getting federal disaster assistance if necessary. The state's Emergency Operations Center has been activated and is being staffed around the clock. One-hundred National Guard troops have been activated, and another 400 are on standby.
Wise also has asked citizens to be vigilant. He says his hope is that by the time this weekend is over, everyone in West Virginia will look back and realize they didn't need all this preparation. He says the state is preparing for the worst, but obviously hoping for the best.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)