RICHMOND (AP) -- More than 200 members of the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force are staged at readiness centers along the I-81 corridor and in the central Virginia area along Route 29, I-64 and I-95 if needed to respond to a winter storm.

The National Guard says the soldiers, airmen and Virginia Defense Force members were in place at readiness centers by Wednesday evening.

'We accomplished our objective of getting our units into place before the snow started to fall, and now we are staged and ready to assist with response operations if we are needed,' said. Col. James Zollar, director of joint operations for the Guard.

Potential missions for the Virginia Guard and Virginia Defense Force include assisting stranded motorists, transportation of healthcare professionals and the seriously ill to medical treatment facilities, transportation of personnel or equipment to potential heating or sheltering locations and downed tree removal, said Col. James Zollar, director of joint operations for the Virginia Guard.

Winter storm warnings and watches are in effect across Virginia from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday night.

The National Weather Service says parts of central Virginia could receive 8 inches to a foot of snow.

Up to a foot of snow also is possible in northern, southwestern and Southside Virginia.

Gov Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Tuesday ahead of the storm.

AP-WF-02-12-14 1134GMT

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