Gov. Justice declares State of Emergency ahead of winter storm

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 12:50 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Gov. Jim Justice has declared a State of Emergency for all 55 West Virginia counties due to the winter storm event forecast to hit the state.

The National Weather Service predicts heavy snow, freezing rains, dangerous wind chills, and strong winds beginning, Thursday, December 22, 2022, continuing throughout the week and into the coming holiday weekend.

The State of Emergency allows state agencies to coordinate ahead of a possible weather event, including by pre-positioning personnel, vehicles, equipment and other assets.

Gov. Justice also issued an updated proclamation declaring Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, as a full-day state holiday for public employees. Public employees involved in emergency response will continue to be on-duty, as required by their supervisors.

“All West Virginians need to absolutely be ready for the potential impact this winter storm may bring to our state,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginians should pay extra close attention to emergency officials and media outlets, and be prepared if there are power outages. West Virginians take care of one another, so on this holiday weekend, make sure you check on your neighbors and loved ones.”

“This storm will cause difficult travel, extreme cold and other hazardous conditions,” said EMD Director GE McCabe. “EMD is in close contact with local offices of emergency management, state and federal partners, and utility company representatives to assist and respond when help is needed.”

Coordinating agencies are being placed on standby to support the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) should the need arise.

“At the direction of Governor Justice, the West Virginia National Guard has identified locations throughout the State of West Virginia that can operate as warming shelters to assist our citizens in the event of prolonged power outages or need for shelter,” stated Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, the Adjutant General. “We will coordinate with the Department of Emergency Management and the county Emergency Managers to open these facilities if a need arises. No matter when or where, our Soldiers and Airmen are ready to support West Virginians in a time of need.”

District Engineers and District Managers in all 10 West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) districts were meeting with county administrators in their districts to brief them and ensure all counties are prepared to deal with snow and ice.

There are approximately 1,080 SRIC trucks mounted with snow-fighting equipment around the state belonging to the WVDOH.

“We remained prepared for a winter storm,” Jimmy Wriston, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation said. “We conduct dry runs in October. We are fully stocked on salt and abrasives. Our trucks have been prepped for months and we are as ready as we can be for this upcoming storm.”

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.