RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell on Monday asked for a federal emergency declaration to help state and local governments and other agencies respond to and recover from the widespread impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

The request for the federal Public Assistance program would make funding available to cover eligible costs for emergency protective measures and debris removal.

'This is a historic weather event one we've never seen before and we expect that there is going to be extensive debris and cost in responding to and recovering from this storm,' McDonnell said late Monday.

In an early afternoon press conference, McDonnell said Hurricane Sandy had caused big problems across the state.

'Already we've seen seven inches of rain in Mathews County, a 52 mph wind gust in Norfolk,' he said. 'As the afternoon and evening unfold, the storm will get significantly worse. Winds will continue to ramp up to tropical storm force and perhaps higher in isolated gusts, in Hampton Roads, the Richmond metro area, and Northern Virginia.'

McDonnell statedhe'd spoken with President Barack Obama, who promised federal help after the storm.

He also asked residents to donate to the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund, which will help victims of the storm.

'After the storm passes, and skies clear, the work will not be over. Far from it. Virginians in every region are going to be recovering from significant damage. Virginians are going to need help. We will be taking every and all necessary steps at the state level, in conjunction with our federal and local counterparts, and private utility companies, to get power restored and assist with all recovery efforts.

Across the state, more than 600 members of the Virginia National Guard are staged in key areas to respond with recovery operations.

A curfew was in place on the swamped Chincoteague Island. The island's emergency management coordinator, Bryan Rush, said the 3,500 islanders who decided to tough out Hurricane Sandy have been told to keep off the streets under a noon Monday curfew. He said the entire 37-square-mile island is underwater, 3 feet deep in some places.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency officially activated the 80-person Virginia Task Force One from Fairfax. The unit has deployed all over the world in response to earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Read or Share this story: