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State of Emergency declared due to flooding in Southwest Virginia

A look at Sandy River Road in Axton on Thursday afternoon.

RICHMOND – On Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in response to heavy rains and extreme flooding in multiple jurisdictions in the commonwealth.

Localities in the southwest have been particularly hard hit by flooding, and as the storm continues to move east, impacts and storm damage are expected statewide.

A state of emergency allows the commonwealth to mobilize resources and position people and equipment to assist in storm response and recovery efforts.

“This weather is potentially dangerous, and rivers and streams can reach flood stage hours after the rain has passed,” said Governor Northam. “I urge all Virginians to monitor forecasts, and be prepared to obey local evacuation orders if needed. We are grateful to first responders who are working to rescue people from flooded homes and keep citizens safe.”

The flooding has affected homes and required rescue of citizens.

According to reports from emergency officials, more than 500 residents in and around the town of Richlands in Tazewell County, have been displaced by flooding and needed rescue from their homes.

A number of roads are closed or washed out.

You should not drive across any flooded roadway, as it only takes six inches of water to move a vehicle, and roads may be washed out beneath the floodwaters.

Severe weather conditions are expected to persist for the next 24 hours.

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