The National Weather Service in Wakefield, VA, has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Central Virginia that will remain in effect from Thursday afternoon through late Thursday night. As a result, the city of Richmond encourages residents to take precautions now in preparation for any winter precipitation impact.
Residents are encouraged to make an emergency supply kit to include essential supplies that will last at least three days. Supply kits should include a hand-cranked or battery-powered radio and extra batteries, non-perishable food and water, toiletries, flashlights, a first aid kit and medications. Also, include items needed for infants, seniors, and pets. You may want to keep a second kit in your car in the event you must travel during inclement weather.
The City asks that residents remain home or indoors during this weather event and offers the following safety recommendations:
If you do have to drive, drive cautiously;
If driving, decrease speed;
Have a full tank of gas;
Have a cell phone with a full charge with you;
Stay inside if possible. If you need to go out, dress in several layers of lightweight clothing. Wear mittens or gloves and a hat, preferably one that covers your ears;
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite;
Avoid overloading electrical outlets;
Do not connect your generator directly to your home's wiring or house your generator inside your home. Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home's wiring may 'back feed' onto the power lines connected to your home;
If space heaters are being used, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the heater. Make sure your space heater is three feet from any flammable material. Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from your space heater;
Stoves or ovens should not be used as an alternate source to heat your home;
Bring your pets indoors. If you are unable to bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.
Businesses have a critical role in emergency preparedness. Putting a disaster plan in motion now will improve the likelihood that your business or company will survive and recover. Visit www.ready.gov/business for more information.
Although mass evacuations do not appear to be necessary with this weather event, City officials may decide some area evacuations are necessary. Residents should prepare to be self sustaining by having food that doesn’t need refrigeration and one gallon of water per person per day.
The city’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be open tonight, January 16, and tomorrow, January 17, as overnight temperatures are forecasted to remain at or below 40 degrees. The Cold Weather Overflow Shelter is located at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 14 West Duval Street. The shelter will open each day at 7 p.m. and close the following morning at 6 a.m. Food will not be provided and pets are not allowed.
Residents in need of overnight shelter are asked to report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities Central Intake by 5 p.m. each day for a comprehensive intake and referral to the appropriate shelter. Commonwealth Catholic Charities Central Intake is located at the Freedom House Conrad Center, 1400 Oliver Hill Way, next to Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and Richmond City Jail. A referral to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be provided to individuals who are not eligible for an existing shelter or if all available beds have been filled.
The city’s Department of Social Services (DSS) will accept Crisis Assistance applications now through March 15 at 900 East Marshall Street, Monday through Friday; from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can also call the Fuel Line at (804) 646-7046. DSS also provides emergency assistance with gas and electric disconnection notices for residents who qualify.
Elderly or disabled residents can also contact Senior Connections for assistance at (804) 343-3000, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.