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Virginia governor declares state of emergency as state braces for more snow

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Wednesday ahead of another winter storm, days after a powerful bout of snow battered the state and left hundreds of drivers stranded for hours on the East Coast’s main thoroughfare.

More than 100,000 power outages remained across the state Wednesday after powerful winds and wet, heavy snow felled trees and power lines earlier in the week, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates data from utilities across the U.S.

The incoming winter weather is expected to blanket mid-Atlantic states beginning Thursday, dropping as much as 6 to 8 inches on parts of Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains and West Virginia, forecasters with the National Weather Service said.

The eastern part of the state is expected to see smaller snowfall totals, though the governor’s office said the system will likely knock out more trees, cause more power outages and hamper travel. The emergency order will help pay for damage and other impacts from both storms.

“Having two bouts of snow and icy weather back to back makes it more likely communities will need additional help as they continue to recover from the first round of tree-snapping wet snow and ice that we saw Monday,” Northam said in a statement. 

“While we typically have ample resources for snow storms, these back-to-back events will generate landmark winter weather that requires extra flexibility,” he said.

The earlier storm brought more than a foot of snow to parts of the state. On Interstate 95, which runs the length of the East Coast, a 50-mile section of road near Fredericksburg was shut down after a crash with six tractor-trailers on Monday.

The section remained closed until Tuesday evening, with some drivers abandoning their cars and others facing dire circumstances as they ran out of gas, food and water.

Among those trapped on the highway was Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who tweeted afterward: “Ok after 27 hours on the road from Richmond to DC, very happy to be back in the Capitol and working on voting rights legislation this afternoon.”

Dominion Power, the state’s largest utility, called the storm one of its top five most damaging. At one point, more than 400,000 customers were without power, the utility said.

The incoming storm is expected to hit northern mid-Atlantic states and New England later Thursday, with snowfall totals of 4 to 6 inches expected across a wide swath of Massachusetts.



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