Virginia lawmakers are urging President Obama to declare a federal emergency in the state in advance of Hurricane Irene.

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“There is every indication that Irene will be an extremely dangerous storm, and we are taking this very seriously,” Rigell, who represents Virginia Beach, Virginia’s Eastern Shore and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton, said in a news release.


“A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full partnership and resources of the federal government to help provide for the public’s safety and for quick recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Irene,” he added. “Our state and local partners and our citizens are doing their parts to prepare for this event and everyone in the federal government needs to do the same.”

The lawmakers support Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) request for a federal emergency declaration, following Thursday’s declaration of a state of emergency in the area.

“There is a strong potential for devastating flooding from strong wind, heavy rainfall and storm surge flooding in the eastern part of the state, depending on the storm’s final track,” the legislators said in the letter. “Many localities have already ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent a potential loss of life.”

The state has already activated the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operational Response to assess the storm’s impact, and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating a response with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, according to the letter.

But “a federal emergency declaration would ensure the full partnership and resources of the federal government to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to ensure the public’s safety and quick recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Irene,” the lawmakers wrote.

Virginia is one of just six states declaring emergencies in anticipation of this weekend’s storm. The hurricane has already reached recorded wind speeds of 115 mph, and residents along the Eastern Seaboard have been advised to collect supplies and seek safe shelter prior to the storm’s arrival.