Northam lifts mandatory evacuation of many along Virginia coast
UPDATE (11 a.m. Sep. 14):
Hours after Hurricane Florence made landfall in southern North Carolina, at Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington, Governor Ralph Northam has lifted mandatory evacuations ordered earlier this week for coastal areas of Virginia.
The evacuation order applied to residents in Virginia's Zone A, which includes Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore, and the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
Northam made the decision to lift the evacuations just after the National Weather Service lifted the tropical storm warning for coastal Virginia.
“The imminent threat of coastal flooding and high winds have passed for our coastal communities as Hurricane Florence has made landfall in the Carolinas and we believe it is safe for Virginians to begin returning home,” said Northam. “We are shifting our focus to the expected inland flooding and damage to Southwest Virginia as Florence turns north this weekend. We will make determinations in the coming days about the available resources and assistance we can offer to our neighbors in the Carolinas, who are in our thoughts and prayers as they bear the impact of this historic storm. I want to recognize the tireless work of our local, state, and federal partners who have been working around the clock to prepare Virginia for Hurricane Florence and to keep our residents safe.”
With the evacuation order lifted, individual towns, cities, and counties are responsible for coordinating the return of citizens with consideration to flooding and road conditions, public health and medical concerns, public safety issues, ongoing response activities, and critical utility restoration.
Virginians from those areas should check local government websites, local media channels, and social media from credible local sources for instruction.
You can check road conditions in Virginia before driving by using
Flooding is still expected in southwest Virginia once Florence makes its way through North Carolina and hooks northward.
The commonwealth of Virginia remains under a state of emergency.
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for a large number of Virginians along the Eastern Shore.
As Hurricane Florence approaches as a category 4 storm with 140mph winds, Governor Ralph Northam held a press conference on Monday afternoon, in which he announced a mandatory evacuation effective 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11.
It applies to all of Zone A, which includes the lowest-lying areas of coastal Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
Some 245,000 people in that zone will head west for shelter from the storm.
You can find a map of evacuation zones
Northam already declared a state of emergency over the weekend for all of Virginia.
The governor is urging all Virginia residents to prepare for the storm, which he says will affect the entire state.
Forecasters say the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a dangerous storm by the time it reaches the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.
For a look at how Florence could impact the Shenandoah Valley, you can find the WHSV First Alert Storm Team's take
You can also find an article on how to prepare for a hurricane
Evacuations have also been ordered for
and 30 U.S. Navy ships
to head to safer parts of the Atlantic.
Many counties in North Carolina have also issued evacuation orders.
In Currituck County, vacationers and guests in Corolla and Carova must leave starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. In Hyde County, visitors of Ocracoke Island are required to evacuate starting at noon on Monday.
In Dare County, all visitors and residents as well must evacuate Hatteras Island beginning on Monday and other parts of the county by Tuesday morning.
In addition to the evacuations, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial have suspended visitor services and temporarily closed all visitor facilities beginning at noon Monday.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington has also issued a mandatory evacuation for all students starting Tuesday morning.
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