Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says residents should shelter in place and stay off the roads as Hurricane Florence starts to come ashore in the Carolinas and its effects make their way north.
Northam spoke at a news conference Thursday evening with emergency management officials. He says parts of Virginia will likely see tropical storm-force winds, flooding and several inches of rain.
Although the forecast for Virginia is less severe than earlier in the week, Northam says "now is not the time to let down our guard."
Some bridges and tunnels in Hampton Roads may close because of high winds and flooding. "Stay where you are and stay off the roads," Northam said.
He notes that forecasts for the weekend show a continued threat to southwest Virginia as the storm is expected to make a gradual northerly turn. "I would urge everyone in that part of the state to prepare for wind, rains and flooding," Northam said.
Jeff Stern is the state's coordinator of emergency management. He says there are nearly 400 people in shelters across the state.
While Florence will track to our south, we are still expecting some impacts across the region including moderate to major tidal flooding, tropical storm force winds (across SE VA/NE NC), and locally heavy rainfall. #vawx #mdwx #ncwx pic.twitter.com/zoLiQpI6WJ
— NWS Wakefield (@NWSWakefieldVA) September 13, 2018
Stern also noted that rivers in Virginia may not crest until late into next week, depending on the track of Florence.
Stern said officials are planning for what come after the tropical storm force winds pass. Some emergency resources in Northern Virginia have already been released. Stern said more will be evaluated over the weekend and early next week. They might then be sent to the Carolinas.