The Virginia National Guard announced that roughly 40 soldiers and 20 light medium tactical vehicles were heading to North Carolina for recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence caused widespread flooding there.
Others may be called up in case Southwest Virginia sees flooding as the storm continues plodding along and dumping vast amounts of rain.
The soldiers left for North Carolina on Saturday, according to a news release. The Virginia National Guard will keep a force of soldiers on standby for possible support to Southwest Virginia if needed, and personnel not on standby will return to routine operations.
“We are incredibly fortunate that Hurricane Florence seems to have missed Virginia, so now we will turn our attention to supporting our neighbors to the south,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia, in a prepared statement. “We will keep a small force on standby in Virginia in case the Southwest Virginia area needs any assistance. I am incredibly proud of the great team effort that enabled us to have personnel and equipment ready to respond here in Virginia, and we welcome the opportunity to lend a hand in North Carolina. We know they would do the same for us if we needed the help.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said in a Saturday news release that state emergency response leaders were working to move people and commodities into place to help Southwest Virginia with anticipated flooding from the remnants of Florence, and to aid North and South Carolina as they respond to the storm.
“I have been in contact with the governors of North and South Carolina and have offered the commonwealth’s full support as our neighbors respond to catastrophic flooding associated with Florence,” Northam said in a news release. “In Virginia, we are still expecting up to 12 inches of rain in Southwest and up the I-81 corridor, and as a result are repositioning state and federal assets to prepare for flooding and possible landslides early next week.
“Virginia is still in the path of storm once it makes its expected northern turn and now is not the time to let our guard down.”
Virginia shipped 4,000 box lunches to Clinton, N.C., to aid residents there, the governor’s office said.
Northam’s office said residents in Southwest Virginia should prepare for flooding and can find out how to do so at www.VAEmergency.gov/floods. Motorists can check road conditions before they travel by going to www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511.
Drivers are urged to turn around if they encounter flooded roads.