- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The latest on expected torrential rains over the coming days, possible brush with Hurricane Joaquin (wah-KEEN’).

5:40 p.m.

Langley Air Force Base is telling only its essential personnel to report to work on Friday.

The base in Hampton will be closed to all non-mission essential personnel beginning at 9 a.m. The base’s leadership made the decision based on projected tidal surges and potential flooding.

The hospital on the base will remain open during the storm to maintain emergency care for mission-essential personnel and base residents.

On Thursday, about 40 aircraft and 100 personnel from Langley Air Force Base were relocated to Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana in advance of Hurricane Joaquin.

4:45 p.m.

The Navy says it is preparing to move its ships out of Virginia within 24 hours in advance of Hurricane Joaquin.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command says some ships began the process of leaving their bases in Hampton Roads on Thursday.

The Navy says the ships that were sent out to sea Thursday have designs that made it necessary to get them out of the way from high winds from an existing storm expected to hit the area on Friday.

Virginia is home to the world’s largest naval base and is the home port for every East Coast-based aircraft carrier. Navy bases in Virginia are also home to submarines, destroyers and amphibious assault ships, among others.

4:25 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Wakefield says much of Virginia will get between 2 and 5 inches of rain through Sunday.

Meteorologist Mike Rusnak says coastal areas will likely receive less rain than areas farther inland. He said forecast models show rains associated with Hurricane Joaquin likely won’t reach Virginia.

Rusnak says coastal areas will likely see wind speeds this weekend reaching 40 mph, while inland areas could see winds up to 30 mph.

Rusnak says flooding will likely still be an issue in low-lying coastal areas during high tide.

3:40 p.m.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has lowered water levels at Lake Drummond to mitigate flooding in the Great Dismal Swamp.

The lake drains into a ditch that ultimately leads into the Dismal Swamp Canal in Chesapeake.

The lake’s water level has been lowered 7 inches in anticipation of heavy rains. The corps says lowering water levels will enable the lake to accept larger quantities of rainwater, which lessens the chances of flooding.

Spillways along the canal are also in place to enable water from Lake Drummond to be distributed into area tributaries.

3:20 p.m.

Norfolk is opening up its parking garages to residents who are worried their vehicles may get flooded due to heavy rains.

Many parts of Norfolk routinely flood during major storms. The city will open up three downtown garages to residents free of charge Thursday evening through Tuesday morning.

An additional three garages will be opened up at Old Dominion University. Those garages will become available Friday evening through Monday morning.

3:10 p.m.

Old Dominion University in Norfolk is planning on closing at noon on Friday in anticipation of flooding in Norfolk.

The university says all ordinarily scheduled activities will not resume until at least Monday. Residence halls will remain open for students who live on campus.

The university is in a low-lying area next to the Elizabeth River and street-level flooding in the area is common during major storms.

2:10 p.m.

The operators of the State Fair of Virginia are ending the agricultural attraction’s run because of the threat of severe weather.

The Doswell fair held at The Meadow Event Park will close Thursday and not re-open for the scheduled remainder of its run. The fair was to run through Sunday.

Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe is vice president of operations at Meadow Event Park. She said tickets purchased for the fair and rides can been redeemed for the 2016 fair.

1:50 p.m.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is warning Virginians of the prospect of flooding and power failures as a rain-soaked weather system moves into the state.

At a briefing Thursday at the state’s emergency management center in suburban Richmond, the governor and other top officials advised residents to be prepared for the worst - up to 10 inches of rain.

McAuliffe said western Virginia is already reeling from drenching rain that wiped out or closed roads earlier this week. He declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

The governor said more than 800 Virginia National Guard soldiers are ready to be mobilized.

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said 2,500 state and contract crews are also on call.

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