CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Anticipating an increased threat of flash flooding and severe storms as the remnants of now-Tropical Depression Ida move through our region, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has issued a State of Emergency for all 55 counties.
The latest forecast from the National Weather Service, a nearby cold front, and Ida’s impending arrival will cause periods of moderate to heavy rain is expected to start bringing moderate to heavy rainfall to the area today. Through Wednesday, areas are expected to see 2″-4″ of rainfall. The governor says with the state receiving several inches of rainfall recently, conditions make potential flooding more probable.
“All West Virginians need to absolutely be ready for the potential impact Ida may bring to our state,” Justice said. “West Virginians should pay extra close attention to emergency officials and media outlets. And please: do not endanger yourselves, your loved ones, or our first responders by trying to drive through floodwaters.”
Justice says declaring the State of Emergency allows for state agencies to coordinate in preparation of a possible weather event such as by pre-positioning personnel, vehicles equipment, and other assets.
According to the governor’s office, the West Virginia National Guard is planning to bring on personnel and other additional assets typically needed during flood events.
“With Ida posing a risk to the entire state, we are working closely in support of the West Virginia Emergency Management Division to stand up a whole-of-government response,” says Lt. Col. Walter “Wally” Hatfield, Director of Operations for the WV National Guard. “Coordinating with the State Emergency Operations Center, multiple Community Assistance Teams and Liaison Teams of Guard personnel are being strategically positioned throughout the state to assume a proactive posture providing assistance to local communities as quickly as possible should we be called on to do so.”
He says the governor has authorized State Active Duty status for up to 60 Guardsmen for the State of Emergency and they will activate as many if needed.
“Our top priority is always the safety and survival of our fellow West Virginians, and we will do everything we can to meet any challenge Mother Nature might throw at us in the next 72 to 96 hours.”Lt. Col. Walter “Wally” Hatfield, Director of Operations for the WV National Guard
The West Virginia Emergency Management will be operating the State Emergency Operations Center on 12-hour shifts and will monitor for overnight updates on weather forecasts, river and stream levels, and other alerts.
According to the governor’s office, the West Virginia Division of Highways will also be on 24-hour standby throughout the forecasted storms.
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