Maryland, Virginia Declare Emergencies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    Both Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley declared states of emergency Saturday in advance of the winter storm that is expected to wallop the states with up to a foot of snow in some areas.

    McDonnell said he was declaring the emergency "out of an abundance of caution to ensure the necessary resources are available to handle potential problems."

    O'Malley also use the "abundance of caution" line when he issued a state of emergency later in the day.

    McDonnell specifically mentioned the increase in holiday traffic that could be on roads throughout the state as people make their way back from the long weekend.

    "This storm could potentially bring severe weather to parts of Virginia," McDonnell said. "Please stay alert to the forecast for your area and make sure your family and neighbors are ready for hazardous weather conditions. If the storm affects your area, please stay off the roads and contact local authorities if help is needed."

    Virginia law requires the governor to declare a state of emergency so the Virginia National Guard can identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed.

    O'Malley said Maryland National Guard units are prepared to assist local emergency managers and first responders around the state.

    "Because this is a holiday weekend, we have to be prepared for travelers returning home," O'Malley said. "Still, we urge residents to avoid driving except for the most urgent reasons. If drivers stay off the roads it will help the dedicated state and local highway crews clear the roads in a safe and efficient manner."

    People can check road conditions in Virginia before they leave home by calling 511 or by visiting www.511virginia.org.  In Maryland, you can visit CHART.