UPDATE 1/31: The City of Portsmouth is lifting its local State of Emergency Declaration enacted on Tuesday, January 28. The Declaration will expire at 1 p.m. on January 31.
SUFFOLK -- City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn signed paperwork Wednesday night declaring a local emergency in Suffolk following an overnight snowstorm.
Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Newport News and Norfolk also declared a state of emergency.
The declaration of a local emergency is necessary to permit the full powers of government to deal effectively with the hazardous weather.
According to Norfolk spokeswoman Lori Crouch, to be eligible for federal funds the state must declare a state of emergency or a major disaster declaration. It must state that the situation is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments. A preliminary damage assessment form is completed and if the state meets the per capita threshold a FEMA-state agreement for assistance will be issued.
"A local state of emergency allows the city to specifically track storm-related expenses so down-the-road if a federal declaration is declared we may be eligible. Immediately, it allows us to request state help if we need it," Crouch said.
Residents are asked to limit travel as much as possible, both for their own safety and to permit Public Works crews to plow streets and spread salt/sand.
If you must drive, use caution, particularly if you encounter plows.