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This email was sent to Virginians in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia on September 13, 2018. If you did not receive it and would like to receive updates from Senator Warner, you can sign up here 


Dear Friend,

By now you’ve probably heard that Hurricane Florence is likely to bring heavy rain to the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia over the coming weekend. The truth is, extreme weather can be just as devastating inland as it is on the coast, and so I’m reaching out to make sure you’ve got the information you need to stay safe during this hurricane.

While it appears that Virginia’s coast will be spared a direct hit from Hurricane Florence, heavy rains capable of causing flooding will impact portions of Southwest Virginia over the next two to five days.  Significant rainfall will cause creeks and streams to overflow.  Homes and businesses in low-lying areas will experience flooding.  Roads and bridges could be washed out, and emergency services will have difficulty reaching some areas. 

The time to prepare for this is now.  The Virginia Department of Emergency Management encourages everyone to remain vigilant, keep informed about the weather conditions, and if you encounter flooded roads or bridges to turn around and not drive through the deep water.  One of the most important steps individuals in impacted regions can take is to follow the guidance provided by local authorities. 

Additionally, FEMA recommends taking the following preparedness actions:

  • Stay tuned to local TV and radio stations for instructions and information. 
  • Prepare a disaster kit for your home: Stock up on non-perishable food and water to sustain you and your family for up to three days or longer. Ensure you have important papers (e.g. insurance, identification), first aid kit, a supply of prescription medicines and other specialty items in your preparedness kit. In addition, plan to have an emergency kit for your car in case you need to evacuate. While creating a disaster kit, pet owners should remember to pack the necessary items for their pets. For a detailed checklist of suggested emergency supplies, visit the VDEM website.
  • Create an emergency plan: Know what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure you know how to contact members of your family and have an emergency contact number for someone out of state that knows where you are in the event of an emergency.
  • Be informed: Know evacuation routes and listen to local authorities when asked to evacuate. Evacuation route information is available on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Whether you live in a coastal community or inland, speak with your insurance agent now about flood insurance and review your homeowner’s policy. Every state is at risk for flooding and homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a cost-effective way to financially prepare for floods. To learn more about your risk and flood insurance, visit
  • If power is out, use flashlights, not candles. Remember – carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Do not bring generators into the house. Don’t use camp stoves and lanterns without ventilation. Never use stoves for heating. Any of these can cause deadly buildup of carbon monoxide. If using a space or kerosene heater, practice proper safety procedures. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as long as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • Make sure you know where your home’s safe room is located. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website details what a safe room should look like.
  • Keep your automobile fully fueled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
  • Know how to shut off utilities. Know how your water heating and air-conditioning systems work and where pilot lights are located if you have natural gas appliances. If you have any questions, contact your local utility company.
  • Gather your personal documents - insurance policy information, emergency contact information, and any other vital documents – and have them somewhere they can be easily located and ready to take with you should you have to evacuate your home.
  • Updates on the hurricane and its effects on Virginia are available through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s websiteFacebook, and Twitter feed.


Here’s something I read in the Roanoke Times today that’s a good reminder of what we’re up against:

“So how much rain will we get? Probably not the 15 to 30 inches across the entire region like you may have seen on one of those colorful maps – but it only took 6.6 inches in a day, after several prior days of intermittent rain, to trigger the mighty Flood of 1985, still the benchmark for massive inundation in the Roanoke Valley.”

I hope Virginia is spared the worst of this storm, but we’ve got to be ready for anything. I encourage you to spread the word by sharing this email with your friends and family. By sharing this information with as many people as possible, you will help ensure people are prepared for the flooding that could result from the heavy rain that is predicted for Southwest Virginia and the Roanoke Valley.

As always, my office is here to help. If there’s an issue that’s important to you or a question you’d like to ask, I invite you to send me an email and follow my work in the Senate on Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you.


Mark Warner