Dec. 8 (UPI) -- North Carolina and Virginia's governors have declared states of emergency ahead of a winter storm.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Saturday he had declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, which has brought snow and freezing rain across the southern United States. It is expected to hit the area Sunday.
"I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure localities and communities have appropriate assistance and to coordinate state response to possible snow and ice accumulations, transportation issues, and potential power outages," Northam said in a statement, which urged Virginians to prepare.
Heavy and accumulating snow is expected in southern Virginia through Monday, a National Weather Service winter storm warning shows, with 3 to 6 inches in Amherst and Buckingham counties, and locally higher amounts possible.
The NWS warned that snow "will make travel very hazardous or impossible."
"If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency," the NWS said.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Friday for all 100 counties. The storm is expected to start pounding the area on Saturday.
Mountainous areas in North Carolina are forecast to receive up to 18 inches of snow and ice Saturday through Monday with gusty winds.
The winter storm impact is expected to be felt across the state. Some central North Carolina areas may see snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches and ice accumulations of a quarter inch, the NWS winter storm warning said.
Downed trees and branches could cause power outages other travel hazards, the warning added.