RELEASE:

CONTACT:
IMMEDIATE

Jeff Caldwell 804-225-4260
Jeff.Caldwell@Governor.Virginia.Gov
Laura Southard 804-674-2400
laura.southard@vdem.virginia.gov
CO-58742

July 4, 2012



GOV. MCDONNELL ISSUES JULY 4 UPDATE ON VIRGINIA'S RECOVERY FROM JUNE'S HISTORIC DERECHO STORM
Power outages decrease to 176,928 customers statewide; storm-related fatalities increase to 12

RICHMOND Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a Wednesday morning update regarding Virginia’s ongoing recovery from severe storms that struck the Commonwealth this past weekend. Although power outage numbers are declining significantly, many remain without air conditioning during very high temperatures, and the governor reminds residents to take appropriate safety precautions in the heat. 

As of 10 a.m., power companies are reporting that approximately 176,928 customers remain without power statewide, a decline of 59,911 since 5 p.m. yesterday and down from a high of some 1.2 million outages. All hospitals are back on grid power, and Virginia Dominion Power reports that it is one day ahead of schedule for restoration, with the vast majority of customers coming back online by Friday night.

Verizon is reporting that all 911 systems are back to normal operations. Verizon has provided three mobile telecommunications centers to Lynchburg, Rocky Mount and Alexandria.  These also serve as additional cooling centers in those localities.

The number of storm-related fatalities has increased to 12, with the addition of a fatality in Richmond.  Other fatalities were previously confirmed in Albemarle County, Bedford County, Chesapeake, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County and Roanoke.

“I am pleased that more and more homes are coming back on line, and I am encouraged that the power companies continue to work around the clock on the problem areas, but the high heat in Virginia is a serious ongoing safety concern. The recovery effort is continuing 24 hours a day and we are all focused on getting power restored as quickly as is possible in every community in the state,” said Gov. McDonnell.  “As everyone continues to work together to get things back to normal, please look out for your friends and neighbors that are still without power and may need a place to cool off. Since this unprecedented weather event began we have seen the best of Virginians. But it is not over. I thank all of our local first responders and state agencies for their hard work and ask all Virginians to continue helping one another as we move forward.”

Current state efforts to respond to the aftermath of the derecho include:

  • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center continues to be staffed with representatives of various state agencies who are coordinating requests for assistance from local governments and providing resources as needed.

  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has coordinated delivery of 64,400 gallons of water to Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt and Page. Fourteen generators have been delivered to Bath, Botetourt, Highland and Rockingham counties and the town of Vinton and city of Covington. Heavy equipment has been provided to Albemarle County and Charlottesville, and advanced life support ambulances from Halifax and Chesterfield counties have been provided to Alexandria.

  • VDEM has set up an event blog to record agency response, track the opening of cooling centers and provide information to the public at www.virginiaderecho.tumblr.com

  • The Virginia Department of Transportation is coordinating with utility workers to open roads so that power lines can be repaired. There are seven primary roads (numbers 1-599) and 101 secondary roads (numbers 600 and above) closed due to downed trees and debris. Drivers are reminded that if they approach a traffic signal that is without power, they should treat the intersection as a four-way stop. Call 511 or visit www.511virginia.org for road conditions and report road issues to 1-800-FOR-ROAD.

  • Virginia State Police are assisting various localities by providing traffic control at intersections with traffic signals affected by power outages.

  • The Virginia National Guard conducted 35 patrols in northern, central and southwestern Virginia from June 30-July 3, providing assistance with water distribution and other missions.  Through noon today, 14 VNG personnel are in Bedford County to support water and ice distribution.

  • The Virginia Department of Health issued safety information about avoiding heat-related illness and food safety: 

    • Virginians should take precautions from the effects of high heat:

      • Keep cool in an air-conditioned area.  Visit malls, local libraries, local cooling centers, or stay with friends or family who have air conditioning.

      • Take cold baths and showers to cool down. 

      • Drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour, regardless of your activity level.

      • Be aware that fans by themselves in extreme temperatures are not enough to prevent heat-related illnesses.

      • Those with immediate need for shelter, food or water should check with local social services departments, county or city governments, or volunteer groups for assistance.

    • Virginians should take precautions for food safety.

      • If your power has been out for 48 hours or longer – and you have not made other provisions for keeping your food at or below 41 degrees F – do not eat it.

      • Food must be kept at 41 degrees F or below before cooking or eating it.  If you do not have a thermometer to track temperature or you are not sure, discard the food.

      • If you are using a cooler, ice needs to be replaced at least every 24 hours, and temperature must be kept constantly cold at 41 degrees or below for food safety.

      • When in doubt, throw it out.

Local governments are actively responding to the storm’s aftermath:

  • 44 localities have declared emergencies, and 17 local emergency operations centers remain open to coordinate assistance to their residents.

  • 15 local shelters are open, although this number changes with need.

  • Localities are opening cooling centers to provide daytime relief from the heat for their citizens.   To find cooling shelters, people should listen to their local media, call their local emergency management officials or go to www.virginiaderecho.tumblr.com


Many volunteer groups are helping affected residents:
 

  • Giant Foods donated a generator and water to an assisted living facility in northern Virginia.

  • Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia Disaster Relief is supporting a shelter in Lynchburg and providing chain saw service.

  • Mercy Chefs have provided a chef to supervise and assist with meal preparations in a Lynchburg shelter.

  • American Red Cross and Virginia Baptist Mission Board Disaster Relief have established a feeding unit in Bath County, providing up to 3,000 hot meals daily.

  • In Bath County, the American Red Cross and Virginia Baptists are providing meals, and Gleaning for the World has provided 500 gallons of water.

  • Gleaning for the World has donated truckloads of water, and God’s Pit Crew has donated truckloads of Gatorade.

  • Volunteers continue to assist in local shelters and cooling centers.

 

 

###

 



Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012