Virginia delegates ask President Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Florence

WASHINGTON – In a letter published Monday, a group of Virginia delegates wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, asking him to issue a federal emergency declaration before Hurricane Florence hits the East Coast.

Delegates included U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Reps. Scott Taylor and Bobby Scott, among others. The delegation wrote to the president in support of a request from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

“A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence. Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents,” wrote the Virginia Congressional Delegation.

Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Monday and is expected to make landfall Thursday night. Gov. Northam declared a State of Emergency in Virginia on September 8, one day after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper made the declaration for his state.

The governor issued mandatory evacuations for Zone A, the lowest-lying areas of Coastal Virginia and the Eastern Shore, to go into effect Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Earlier Monday, coastal communities in North Carolina ordered evacuations, and South Carolina ordered evacuations for its entire coastline.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to express our support for Governor Ralph S. Northam’s request for a federal emergency declaration in advance of Hurricane Florence’s potentially devastating effects on the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As you may know, on September 8, 2018 Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. It is increasingly likely that Virginia will face damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and potentially life-threating storm surge flooding due to Hurricane Florence. Many localities have already ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent potential physical harm or loss of life.

Governor Northam’s emergency declaration ensures a fully coordinated state response to support local recovery efforts. The Commonwealth has activated the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operational Response to assess the storm’s potential effects and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center is already coordinating the state’s response with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence.

Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents.

President Trump approved the emergency declaration on Tuesday.

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