Ahead of potential winter storm, Northam’s office drafting new state of emergency order for Youngkin to declare if needed

Virginia

Pam and Ralph Northam meet with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin and Suzanne Youngkin. (Photo: 8News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam’s office is drafting a new state of emergency order for Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin to declare in case a winter storm expected to hit Virginia on Sunday requires one, a person with knowledge of the situation told 8News’ Jackie DeFusco.

According to 8News meteorologists, the storm’s development is based on a cold front that is expected to slide through Thursday night into early Friday morning. Central Virginia could see snow, sleet and then rain, with the western portion of the state possibly seeing snow and sleet.

Northam’s office is leaving the order for the incoming administration to prepare for the expected storm, DeFusco was told. An aide for Youngkin told 8News that his staff has requested briefings on the upcoming inclement weather.

Youngkin (R), a former private equity executive, will take office on Jan. 15. Like other Virginia governors, Northam (D) was prohibited from running for a second consecutive term by the state’s constitution. 

The outgoing governor received criticism for not declaring a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm last week that led to thousands of power outages across the commonwealth.

Heavy snowfall and rain from the storm caused hundreds of crashes in Virginia. Hundreds of motorists on Interstate-95 were stranded overnight Jan. 3 into Jan. 4 during the storm, leading to an uproar over the state’s response and preparation for the winter storm.

Northam did declare a state of emergency in advance of a winter storm that was expected to reach Virginia on Jan. 6, but snow from that storm missed most of the commonwealth.

The Virginia National Guard has not been deployed ahead of the storm expected for Sunday, but a spokesperson said they are communicating with other agencies as they prep for any potential winter weather.

“The Virginia National Guard is in close contact with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management about possible response operations with the forecasted winter weather coming in this weekend,” spokesperson A. A. “Cotton” Puryear said Wednesday.

We have started our initial planning, but we don’t have any real specifics at this point. From here, we will be watching the track of the storm and see what requests localities send to VDEM that might be met with a National Guard capabilities.”

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