Va. National Guard to mobilize for possible response to Tropical Storm Isaias

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard plans to mobilize approximately 40 personnel for state emergency support duty in the Eastern Shore area to be staged and ready to assist local and state agencies respond to potential impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias. Soldiers will begin preparations Aug. 2, 2020, and plan to be in place Aug. 3. Potential missions for the VNG include high water transportation using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks and debris reduction using chain saws.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency July 31 authorizing the VNG’s mobilization as well as other state agencies to organize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. Isaias was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but it still poses a weather threat to the commonwealth.

“Hurricane Isaias is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,” Northam said. “This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”

During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multi-agency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local agencies to provide support capabilities to communities in need.

Anyone impacted by the hurricane and in need of assistance should send support requests to VDEM to ensure the appropriate organization provides the resources in a timely manner.

VNG personnel will respond following the appropriate COVID-19 health protection guidelines for social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings and personal hygiene.

“It is very important that we get our personnel and equipment staged and ready at the right locations before the severe weather hits so we are able to rapidly respond if needed,” explained Brig. Gen. James Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint the staff.

Additional personnel and equipment could be brought on duty if needed, Ring said.

Additional Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force members will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett and remotely to provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support.