RICHMOND, Va. —

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Virginia ahead of the winter weather expected this weekend.

Officials said they believe the snowstorm could result in power outages and downed trees while also impacting travel and transportation. A state of emergency will allow Virginia officials to mobilize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist with recovery efforts.

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"I am declaring a state of emergency in order to prepare and coordinate the commonwealth's response to anticipated winter storm impacts, including snow and ice accumulations, transportation issues and power outages," Northam said. "Virginians should take precautions to stay safe as we begin experiencing winter weather effects."

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Officials said the executive order is put in place to help Virginia alleviate potential damage caused by winter weather and makes the process they use to provide assistance to affected communities more efficient. However, the action does not apply to individuals or private business, according to Virginia officials. 

In the release, Northam’s office also assured Virginians that The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia National Guard are already in place preparing for the impact of the storm.