Northam urges Virginians to prepare for winter storm

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A winter storm is expected to impact much of Virginia this weekend, bringing the possibility of several inches of snow, especially in southwestern parts of the Commonwealth.

Governor Ralph Northam is urging residents to prepare ahead of the storm and has placed several state agencies on alert.

Those agencies include the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia State Police.

According to a release, preparations are being made to have extra crews in place, working extended shifts, to address slippery roads, power outages and other public safety concerns.

“The forecast for this weekend calls for winter weather, which could result in widespread power outages and dangerous road conditions,” said Northam. “Our state agencies are taking necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. I urge all Virginians to take this winter weather threat seriously and make sure your homes, businesses and families are prepared for this storm and other events ahead of this winter.”

VDOT urges drivers to stay off the roads until the storm has passed and conditions improve. They are also cautioned to reduce speed, stay alert and wear a seat belt if they must be on the roads, but officials ask them to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

Crews are already pretreating roads where conditions currently permit.

There are more than 2,500 people and more than 11,700 pieces of equipment in VDOT's arsenal to respond to the storm.

Residents can make sure they are prepared by having supplies stored in their homes and cars for up the three days, including drinkable water, nonperishable food, medications, batteries, flashlights and more. Emergency kits in cars should also include jumper cables, a shovel, kitty litter or sand, and blankets.

Remember to bring any outdoor pets inside to protect them from the cold and weather conditions.

Power outages are likely due to downed trees and power lines, which people should avoid.

For more information and tips on preparations, reporting outages and hazardous situations, and more, click on the links in the Related Links box.

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