WEATHER

Virginia under state of emergency

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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency Thursday after severe storms and tornadoes pounded the state, reportedly killing at least five people and causing widespread damage, yesterday and this morning.

A truck overturned in Washington County, Va. (Photo: Emmett Strode/ WSET)

As a result, state agencies will assist local governments in responding to the impact of the severe weather.

State agencies are assisting by:

• The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating the state’s response with increased staffing.

• Regional emergency coordinators with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management are on scene working with local responders and emergency managers.

• Virginia State Police are assisting with traffic control and security.

• Chainsaw crews from the Virginia Department of Forestry are assisting with debris removal.

• Virginia Department of Transportation crews are clearing debris and ensuring roads are safe for travel.

• Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are assisting with chainsaw crews. 

Thursday’s declaration comes after seven fatalities occurred in the Glade Spring area in Washington County. A county emergency official says a storm hit a truck stop and several mobile homes and houses around 1:30 a.m.

Several people were injured and several others are missing.

Halifax County Emergency Services Deputy Coordinator Chad Loftis said early Thursday that the body of a woman was found in a road there. Seven others were injured.

A Shenandoah County emergency spokeswoman says storms early Thursday caused significant damage in the southwestern part of the county. One person was injured.

Utilities report more than 33,000 customers are without electricity.

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