RICHMOND -- On the day before Hurricane Irene is set to blow across Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell will be stopping in Hampton Roads to meet with emergency operations workers in Hampton, Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

The governor, who declared a state of emergency on Thursday, is reviewing what the cities have planned for the storm and assuring them that the state is here to help.

'He has requested and we plan to provide him with a briefing on where we are with hurricane preparations,' Va. Beach City Manager Jim Spore told

With McDonnell on the visits will be Rep. Scott Rigell (R-2nd District).

McDonnell ordered state offices in areas that will feel the most significant impact from Hurricane Irene to close at 3:00 p.m. Friday. The affected areas are the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Chincoteague, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Poquoson and counties of Isle of Wight, Lancaster, York, Gloucester, Middlesex, Matthews, James City, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Richmond and Accomack counties.

'I am sending non-essential state employees home to prepare for the hurricane and to relieve congestion to aid in local evacuations, and I challenge other employers in those affected areas to release non-essential employees to enable them to prepare for Hurricane Irene as well,' he said.

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