RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Stafford County declared a local state of emergency on Tuesday amid continuing power outages and road closures in the wake of Monday’s winter storm.
“This is an unprecedented weather event,” said County Administrator Frederick Presley. “It is critical that we declare this emergency to ensure the well-being and safety of our community and staff as our top priority.”
The declaration will allow the county to make emergency expenditures and access state and federal relief funds.
A warming shelter has been opened at Stafford High School, 63 Stafford Indians Lane. The shelter will be open from 4-10 p.m. Tuesday night, and will then become an overnight shelter for stranded individuals.
Residents will need to provide their own transportation to the shelter.
Stafford County is served by three power companies: Dominion Energy, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) and the Northern Neck Electric Cooperative (NNEC). REC and NNEC serve around 1,000 customers in total in the county, and all were still without power at 4:02 p.m. Tuesday.
Dominion serves just over 53,000 in the county, and nearly 30,000 were still without power at 4:03 p.m. Tuesday.
In a Facebook post Monday night, the REC said they expected a “multi-day outage event,” with restoration efforts made more difficult by overnight freezing temperatures.
Water Conservation Order
Stafford County Utilities put out an emergency alert on Monday afternoon for residents to conserve water due to power outages. On Tuesday, that water conservation order was extended to Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Stafford County said that due to the condition of the roads, their utility crews are struggling to access necessary locations to fix the ongoing issues.
“The crucial worry is that the interstate is closed,” Stafford County Director of Community Engagement, Andrew Spence said. “Like so many others, we are dependent on deliveries for critical chemicals and other items to ensure the safety of our water treatment.”
Spence said that there is no immediate concern, but that they are being proactive with conserving the water until I-95 is open, and are planning on updating residents with more information then.
Residents are being advised to immediately stop:
- Washing dishes/running dishwashers
- Doing laundry
- Taking baths/showers
- Anything outside of necessary water use
Government offices and courts will be closed on Jan. 5.