Essex County Virginia

**Emergency Information UPDATES**

**Emergency Information UPDATES**
This is where Emergency Information UPDATES will be posted. The content of this blog will be for the citizens, visitors, and general public of Essex County in relation to any major emergency, natural disaster, weather event, or other events that will impact the Essex County community.

Recent Posts
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Hurricane Joaquin is now a Category 3 Hurricane and is heading to the northeast.  There is no direct threat to Virginia from Joaquin at this time, however Joaquin will have an impact on winds and coastal flooding.  No hurricane watches or warnings have been issued for the Commonwealth.   Flash flooding and river flooding is still expected across the Commonwealth due to continued precipitation.  The areas that will see the most rain over the next three days will be in Southwest Virginia.
(Next high tide for Essex County will be at 6:52 P.M.)

3 day precip Estimate Map of Virginia
Posted by jbrann  On May 04, 2017 at 12:01 PM
Hurricane Joaquin is now a Category 4 Hurricane but is tracking to the east.  Hurricane Joaquin is currently forecasted to weaken and pass off of the coast of Virginia on Monday morning.  Flash flooding and river flooding is still expected across the Commonwealth.  The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the majority of the Commonwealth, east of the I-77 corridor as Joaquin will still impact the Commonwealth with winds, additional rain, and coastal flooding.  No hurricane watches or warnings have been issued for the Commonwealth.
Posted by jbrann  11:11 A.M.

Flood PreparednessFlooding is the nation's most common natural disaster, but not all floods are alike. Some can develop slowly during an extended period of rain, or in a warming trend following a heavy snow. Others, such as flash floods, can occur quickly, even without any visible signs of rain. Be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.

Prepare for Flooding

  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Unplug electrical appliances, moving them to higher levels, if possible. However, do not touch an electric appliance if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage.
  • If time allows, bring in outside furniture and move your valuables to higher places in your home.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after flood waters recede, roads could be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water might be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard.
    • Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: there is an increased possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
    • Flood Warning: flooding is occurring or will likely occur very soon. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • Flash Flood Warning: flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately; do not wait for instructions.
  • Use common sense and available information. If water is rising quickly or you see a moving wall of mud or debris, immediately move to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through moving water, if possible. Look for areas where the water is not moving. What might seem like a small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground, if possible.
  • Flood water might cut off access to roads. Be prepared to stay where you are until floodwaters recede.

Know the Road Conditions Before You Leave

  • Know the road conditions before you hit the highways. Dial 511 from any phone for real-time traffic information and road condition reports.
  • Or visit for the latest road reports or listing of closed roads during a major flooding event.

Stay Informed

  • Listen to weather-alert radios to stay informed of flood watches and warnings.
  • Also monitor commercial radio, television and the Internet.
  • Keep in mind that after a flood, it could be hours, or even days, before emergency personnel are able to reach you.

You don’t have to live in a high risk area to be at risk for floods. About 25 percent of flood claims occur outside of a special flood hazard area, yet only 4.3 percent of Virginia households in low- to moderate-risk areas are covered with flood insurance protection. Find out more at


Posted by jbrann  On Apr 19, 2017 at 4:07 PM

Nov. 29-Dec. 5 is Winter Preparedness Week

Virginia forecast includes colder, wetter winter


RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe has proclaimed Nov. 29 through Dec. 5 as Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia, which serves as a reminder to prepare now before severe weather arrives.

Virginia could get a wetter-than-average and colder-than-average winter, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS has predicted above-median precipitation amounts for December, January and February in Virginia due to a strong El Niño effect. NWS also predicted that temperatures might be slightly below median levels.

“No matter what the predictions are, a significant winter storm is always possible,” said State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “You can reduce the risk of loss of life and property during the winter months by taking measures before severe weather arrives, and follow the proper steps during and after winter storms.”

Keep in mind that an important part of winter weather planning is being prepared to stay where you are until conditions improve. To be ready, take these steps:

  •  Get a kit. Basic emergency supplies include:

    • Food and water for three days (one gallon of water per person per day).

    • A battery-powered and/or hand-cranked radio with extra batteries.

    • For businesses and offices, bottled water, protein bars and a radio or TV to hear local information about whether it is safe to travel.

    • A power pack for recharging cell phones and other mobile devices. 

  • Make a plan. Everyone needs an emergency plan:

    • Decide who your out-of-town emergency contact will be.

    • Where will you meet up with family members if you can’t return home?

    • Get an emergency plan worksheet at 

  •  Stay informed. Before, during and after a winter storm, you should:

    • Listen to local media for information and instructions from emergency officials.

    • Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions.

    • Get where you need to go before the weather gets bad.

    • Get road condition information 24/7 by calling 511 or checking 

  • Download the Ready Virginia app. Free app for iPhone® and Android™ features:

    • Location-specific weather watches and warnings issued by the NWS.

    • A customizable family emergency plan that can be easily shared.

    • A checklist for gathering emergency supplies.

    • “I’m Safe!” notification that allows users to quickly send a text message to let family and friends know they are safe.



Posted by jbrann  On Apr 19, 2017 at 9:29 AM


Jan. 24, 2016
Contact: 804-371-7215

Snow Removal Can Prevent Roof Collapse

RICHMOND, Va. – State transportation and public safety officials continue their aggressive, around-the-clock response to this weekend’s winter storm. As storm cleanup continues, Virginians are encouraged to safely clear excess snow from roofs, decks and other areas of concern to prevent damage or collapse.

As of Sunday morning, Jan. 24, the state’s Emergency Operations Center had received multiple reports of collapsed or damaged buildings due to excessive snow and ice. For example, residents are sheltering in place following a partial collapse of a retirement home in Burke, Va. A shelter opened in Prince William County for 55 displaced residents from a collapsed apartment building. There was also a reported building collapse of the front wall of an empty strip-shopping center in Stafford County.

According to the National Weather Service, preliminary reports show some regions of Virginia received more than two feet of snow accumulation during this storm. Flat and low pitched roofs, most often found on industrial buildings, but also used in certain home designs, are at the greatest risk of buckling under heavy snow and ice accumulations. Also consider that barns and other agricultural buildings could present safety hazards to animals and humans.

For Homes
Most homes have sloped roofs; therefore, the risk posed by snow accumulations is less than a flat roof. If you have a flat roof on your home, pre-manufactured home or a portion of your home, monitor the ceiling. Look for the following signs of roof distress:

  • Sagging ceiling beneath the flat roof.


  • Leaking water dripping through the ceiling.


  • New cracks on your ceiling drywall or plaster.


  • Popping, cracking or creaking sounds.


  • Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed.


  • Leaking water dripping through the ceiling.

For Commercial Buildings
There are many variables, but most commercial buildings are designed to accommodate a roof snow load of 24 inches of dense, compacted snow. Pay attention to the following warning signs of roof distress:

  • Sagging roof members including steel bar joists, metal decking, wood rafters, wood trusses and plywood sheathing.


  • Leaking water dripping through the ceiling.


  • Popping, cracking and creaking sounds.


  • Sagging ceiling tiles and/or sagging sprinkler lines and sprinkler heads.


  • Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed.

Building Safety

If you notice one or more of the roof distress warning signs listed above, evacuate the home or building immediately.

Have a professional licensed contractor remove all snow from every roof surface, including roof overhangs and covered porches. Falls from roofs and possible exposure to electrical wires while on the roof are serious hazards.

Melting snow can create puddles of water, which poses a risk to roofs. Clear gutters, drains and downspouts or ice and debris so that water from melting snow has a path to flow away from house or building. Clear snow an ice away from exhaust vents that go through exterior walls.

If your roof collapsed, evacuate and call 911. If you see a collapsed building that has been roped off, stay back and call 911. If you are concerned about the structural integrity of a building, contact a licensed structural engineer, building inspector or other qualified individual.

*Note: This information was gleaned from several sources, including thisFederal Emergency Management Agency document(pdf) and theFairfax CountyDepartment of Public Works and Environmental Services website.

Posted by jbrann  On Apr 19, 2017 at 9:25 AM

American Heart Association has snow shoveling tips

Snow in your driveway doesn't have to be a heart attack waiting to happen

POSTED: 03:50 PM MST Nov 18, 2014

Give yourself plenty of time to dig out from the storms; taking breaks to rest and warm up.

The American Heart Association says that for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems.

  • However, the association warns that the risk of a heart attack during snow shoveling may increase for some, stating that the combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart.

    People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’s heart.

    To help make snow removal safer, the American Heart Association has compiled a list of practical tips.

  • Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.
  • Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, simply push the snow.
  • Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
  • Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to the first anticipated snowfall.
  • Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.

The American Heart Association says that for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems.


Posted by jbrann  On Apr 19, 2017 at 9:24 AM

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Oct. 3, 2015

Joint Information Center
(804) 371-7215

Virginians urged to remain vigilant, watch for flooding

State resources in place to help potential flood victims

RICHMOND, Va. – As rains taper off through the weekend, Virginia agencies continue to monitor and manage storm-related incidents and response across the Commonwealth.

Virginians in low-lying areas are urged to remain vigilant and prepare for moderate flooding from rivers and streams. Coastal communities are advised to be prepared for major flooding to occur Sunday.

  • A Coastal Flood Warning by the National Weather Service (NWS) remains in effect until 6 a.m., Monday (October 5) for much of the Greater Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore and Northern Neck regions. The high tide cycle will peak in the Northern Neck and on the Eastern Shore between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday (October 4). Tidal flooding will range from 4 feet to 6 feet. Residents in these areas are advised to seek higher ground and secure their residences and businesses in advance of the heightened flood waters.
  • The NWS also advises the High Surf Advisory remains in effect until 8 a.m.,Monday (October 5) for all coastal areas from Maryland to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
  • The NWS has also issued a wind advisory for Commonwealth communities from South Boston to Lynchburg to Wytheville. Wind gusts up to 35 mph pose a threat that may blow over trees in waterlogged soil.
  • Minor river flooding is projected through Monday (October 5).
  • Accomack County is the latest jurisdiction to declare a local emergency. The total number of Commonwealth declarations stands at 23.

State emergency management officials stressed that Virginians be prepared in case of evacuation due to rising flood water:

  • Do not drive or walk through moving or standing water on a roadway, as the depth of the water can be difficult to gauge and the water can be swift-moving. As water recedes, be extremely cautious while driving on roadways due to exposed and dangerous debris that can be left behind.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. If evacuated, do not return to your home until local officials announce it is safe. After floodwaters recede, roads could be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water could be contaminated.
  • If water is rising quickly or you see a moving wall of mud or debris, immediately move to higher ground.
  • The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services encourages family members and neighbors to check on older adults and individuals with disabilities to ensure they have enough food, water, medication, medical supplies and other necessities on hand to last several days. 
  • If you are an older adult or an individual with a disability and have a non-emergency medical appointment in an area experiencing flooding, consider rescheduling the appointment until it is safe to travel.
  • If you evacuate, DO NOT leave your pets behind. Pets most likely cannot survive on their own. Plan now where your pet will stay if you have to evacuate: a friends’ or relative’s home, a pet-friendly hotel or motel, or a kennel or veterinarian’s office. Talk to your vet or local humane society about an emergency plan for your pet.

As of 2:30 p.m., there are 2,206 households without power.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews continue to respond to impacts from heavy rainfall across the Commonwealth. Sixty-six roads are closed, mostly in the Salem and Lynchburg districts, due to high water. Seven secondary roads are washed out, one in Loudoun County and the rest in southwestern Virginia. VDOT and Elizabeth River Crossings are closely monitoring tide levels as they impact Hampton Roads tunnels. All tunnels are currently open.

Travelers are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions. Call 511 or go to for road condition information BEFORE heading out.

The State of Emergency, which was declared by Governor Terry McAuliffe, remains in effect. This allows state agencies to quickly take actions in the interest of getting assistance to local governments and, in turn, to residents of the Commonwealth as soon as possible.

Posted by jbrann  On Apr 19, 2017 at 9:18 AM

Generator Safety

  • Always read the label on your generator and the owner’s manual. Follow all instructions.
  • Generators make an invisible, odorless gas called carbon monoxide, or CO, that can kill you. To avoid CO poisoning, operate generators outdoors only in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from home air intakes, and protected from direct exposure to rain.
  • Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages. Install CO alarms with battery backup in your home’s sleeping areas.
  • Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy.
  • Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space. Windows and doors do not provide enough ventilation.
  • Do not locate a portable generator outside near windows or doors.
Posted by jbrann  On Mar 30, 2017 at 10:30 AM
458 AM EDT THU SEP 1 2016

458 AM EDT THU SEP 1 2016





Posted by jbrann  On Sep 01, 2016 at 9:40 AM

2016 Heat Safety Tweets/Facebook Posts


Learn how to be safe in the heat. Visit for more. #heatsafety

Keep the water bottles handy. It's going to be HOT today. More #heatsafety tips at

When temperatures rise do you know how to prevent heat-related illness? Prepare for heat,

When temps rise limit your outdoor activity to morning & evening hours. Know the signs of heat-related illness

Are you ready for the heat? Read #heatsafety tips at

NEVER leave children or pets in a closed car, even with a window cracked. More tips at

Stay cool. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. #heatsafety


Never leave children, disabled adults or pets in parked vehicles! Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies have not developed the ability to efficiently regulate its internal temperature.

Outdoor workers can be at a higher risk to the effects of excessive heat. Here are some recommended practices when working under hot conditions: Drink water often, rest and cool down in the shade during breaks, gradually increase workload and allow more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more, know the symptoms, prevention, and emergency response to prevent heat-related illness and death and check weather forecasts ahead of time to be better prepared.

Check on your neighbors. Although anyone can suffer heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. People aged 65 or older are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and complications that can result during periods of high temperatures and humidity.

The summer months can be brutal to your dog. Dogs are much more susceptible to heatstroke than humans. Dogs wear their fur coat all year round. Dogs have sweat glands on their feet, but they do not have them on the rest of their body. They rely on panting, a method of breathing out excess heat, to cool down their bodies. This method is not as effective as sweating. Keep pets cool this summer:  wet down your dog before and during outside sessions, limit outside time, and stay in the shade and walk on the grass as much as possible.

Posted by jbrann  On Jul 07, 2016 at 11:52 AM
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Posted by jbrann  On Oct 04, 2015 at 12:58 PM
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