NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia National Guard soldiers are assisting Virginia State Police and local emergency response organizations respond to stranded motorists on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
A total of eight soldiers in four Humvees are conducting the support mission on Monday.
According to a Virginia National Guard statement, one adult and two children were transported from a stranded vehicle off Route 13 near Cape Charles to a local hotel around 4:45 a.m. Another three citizens stranded in their car for more than four hours were rescued around 6:30 a.m. in the Onancock area and taken to a local shelter.
The soldiers are also transporting emergency services personnel to work at the local hospital.
In Hampton Roads, Virginia Guard soldiers conducted mounted route patrols Sunday night into Monday morning in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach and assisted several motorists free their cars from being stuck in the snow.
Since early Sunday morning, approximately 100 Virginia National Guard soldiers have been staged and ready to provide support to emergency response organizations in Hampton Roads.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment; 2d Squadron, 183d Cavalry Regiment and 429th Brigade Support Battalion are providing personnel for the operation. Soldiers are staged at the Hampton and Norfolk readiness centers.
Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia Saturday afternoon, a step authorizing state agencies to take precautionary action to prepare for any potential impacts of significant snow accumulation in the region. The declaration authorized the Adjutant General of Virginia to call up those resources he thinks necessary to ensure the Guard can fulfill its mission to provide snow recovery operations.
On Sunday soldiers conducted route reconnaissance patrols in Humvees to assess road conditions in the Hampton Roads area, said Col. Gerald T. Catrett, joint operations officer for the Virginia Guard.
"The key to rapid response for this event is having personnel in place and ready to respond before the snow begins falling in the region," Catrett said. "By calling in soldiers Saturday night while the roads were still clear, we were able to have a force in place and ready to respond Sunday morning.
The Virginia National Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public, Catrett said. "If the snow storm causes any conditions where people need assistance, they should request assistance through their local dispatcher or 911 service, not directly to the Virginia Guard. When appropriate, the request for assistance will be forwarded to us for action," he said.