RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia is one of several states sending help to Florida to respond to Hurricane Ian.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office said Virginia received “an urgent request” to assist.
“Virginia will be assisting Florida with an Incident Management Response Team and they are deploying today. Virginia is ready to assist Florida for the incoming weather,” Youngkin’s office said.
In an interview on Fox and Friends, Youngkin said he had a call on Wednesday morning to prepare for storm impacts in Virginia later this week.
“But right now, we are really focused on Florida and making sure they have all the resources they need,” Youngkin said. “This is going to be an all-hands-on-deck kind of moment and we should continue to lift up everyone in Florida in our prayers.”
Jason Elmore, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said the team of 14 people is headed to Jackson County, Florida. He said they’ll assist with special operations, like search and rescue missions, and logistics.
“They’re probably going to have lots of power outages, heavy flooding and damages. The people who are impacted by that are going to need day-to-day resources, whether that’s food, water or shelter,” Elmore said. “So they’ll be able to coordinate with non-profit groups as well as private sector businesses.”
Looking ahead, state officials are bracing for heavy rain throughout Virginia towards the end of the week, though they don’t expect the impact to be as severe as the situation in Florida. Elmore said they’re keeping a close eye on Southwest Virginia, where some communities are still recovering from flooding earlier this year, and the coast.
Elmore said they’ve been coordinating with localities but, so far, no requests for state assistance have come in. He said VDEM may activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center later this week as Hurricane Ian heads up the east coast.
Cotton Puryear, a spokesperson for the Virginia National Guard, said they will be ready to stage personnel and equipment in advance of severe weather if they receive an official requests. He expects to learn more on Thursday.
On Twitter, the Virginia Department of Transportation warned that strong winds and heavy rain could result in flooded roads and downed trees. If you see debris that needs to be removed, contact VDOT’s customer service team. Never attempt to drive through water on the roadways.
Elmore is also encouraging Virginians to make a plan and an emergency kit before the storm arrives.