Cold weather advice and useful information

Drop everything else you’re doing (unless you’ve got an armload of snow shovels and salt and groceries) and read this right now.

Photo by: Matt Blaze

Helpful advice

How to prepare

  • Charge your cell phone.
  • Find your earmuffs, hats, gloves, thick socks, scarves, and, of course, coats.
  • Make sure you’re stocked on pet food, and figure out how to accommodate your outdoor pet inside.
  • Drip those faucets!
  • Get a snow shovel or borrow one–if your property borders a public sidewalk, you’re legally obligated to clear it. If you physically cannot, try asking around for someone to come do it for you (offer to compensate, of course).
  • Get batteries, candles, flashlights, toilet paper, salt for your steps or walks, an ice scraper, and whatever groceries you need.

If your power goes out

Dominion would like to remind you to keep an eye on their update outage information.

Dominion would also like to remind you that they do text alerts as well! Here’s how to sign up, and we suggest you do it now, so you are prepared!

If you have no heat for whatever reason

From the City!

The City’s Department of Social Services provides emergency assistance with gas and electric disconnection notices for residents who qualify. Residents may also call the Fuel Line at 804.646.7046.

The elderly or residents with disabilities should contact Senior Connections for assistance at 804.343.3000, Monday through Friday; 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Businesses have a critical role in emergency preparedness. Putting a disaster plan in motion now will improve the likelihood that your business or company will survive and recover. Visit for more information.

For up-to-date information and additional instructions from the City of Richmond during this weather event, please visit, follow the City on Twitter @CityRichmondVA, and stay tuned to local radio and television stations.

The City’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be open at the City’s Public Safety Building (505 N. 9th Street) at 7:00 PM daily. You must register at the shelter between 7:00 and 9:00 PM. The Day Warming Site is open at the same location between 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM. Not sure what you should do between 6:30 and 7:00 PM, but just passing that information along.

How to avoid fire

  • Never use your stove or oven for a heat source. If you don’t have heat, please see the Cold Weather Overflow information above, and use it wisely (instead of burning your house down!!).
  • Never connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring or house your generator inside your home. This can literally kill you.
  • Be super careful with space heaters: read the manufacturers instructions, keep it away from flammable material, turn it off when you leave the room or fall asleep, keep kids and pets away from it.

If you need to get somewhere

Please, avoid doing so in your car. We are Richmonders and don’t know what we’re doing. Please keep an eye on VDOT’s updated page for current conditions!

If you are, say, a New England transplant and you have four-wheel drive, then best of luck to you. We envy your skills.

Either way, you’ll probably want to go fill up your tank today.

The GRTC has prepared itself, and would like for you to view this snow route system map(PDF).

Remember that Uber lets its drivers make their own decisions regarding road conditions, so we would like to remind you that calling an Uber driver and having them show up does not necessarily mean that it is safe to let them drive you somewhere.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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