CHARLESTON – Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, is urging all West Virginians to be safe and prepared as Hurricane Florence approaches the region over the weekend.
“While its exact path is still uncertain, I urge everyone to be vigilant and be prepared as these potential heavy rains and winds move in,” Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said.
The National Weather Service in Charleston has predicted rains across most of West Virginia of at least 2 to 4 inches, with the potential for heavier rains in the southern and eastern part of the state depending on the storm’s path. It is expected that the storm will move into West Virginia late Saturday in the southernmost counties and continue Sunday into Monday. West Virginia is currently under a State of Preparedness, which allows the Governor to mobilize necessary resources in advance of a predicted severe weather event or other large-scale threats.
“I commend Governor Justice for having our National Guard and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management fully engaged and prepared for whatever may come our way,” Senate President Carmichael said. “This storm has some uncertainty and has the ability to bring a great deal of devastation to our state, and I am encouraged that our state is already in a position to respond to those in need.”
Because of the number of people who may be traveling the West Virginia Turnpike, Senate President Carmichael is also asking Governor Justice and Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith to consider lifting the tolls on Interstate 77 as needed to allow for the free and safe flow of traffic.
“This is certainly an extreme circumstance, and we’ve seen numerous reports of traffic backups of several miles which can create dangerous situations for first responders who may need to move quickly,” Senate President Carmichael said. “I hope Governor Justice will consider lifting the tolls when the situation calls for it until this storm passes through our state to make sure nobody finds themselves in an unfortunate situation because of a traffic jam.”
Rainfall and wind projections will be updated throughout the weekend as the storm approaches. Residents are encouraged to monitor their local news to stay aware of any sudden changes in conditions.
“My hope is that we are spared any widespread damage from Hurricane Florence, but we must be ready, and we must take care of each other as West Virginians do,” Senate President Carmichael said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the first responders both here and in our neighboring states as they protect and serve the millions of people who will be affected by this storm.”