Skip to main content.

Severe Weather

When severe weather threatens your community, the well-trained professionals at Virginia Natural Gas are ready. Our employees participate in severe weather training that prepares them so that your home and business will have safe, reliable natural gas service. In times of bad weather, here is what you need to know: During severe weather, do NOT turn the natural gas off to your home or business, even if you are evacuated.

  • If you smell natural gas, immediately leave the premises and call our 24-hour emergency response line, 877.572.3342.
  • NEVER try to identify the source of a natural gas leak yourself.
  • After severe weather, if a natural gas meter is damaged by fallen debris or is under water or you do not have gas service, immediately report it by calling our 24-hour emergency response line, 877.572.3342.

No Power? No Problem!

When severe weather hits and you lose power for days or even weeks, natural gas appliances like water heaters and ranges still work. And for the best defense against power outages, we recommend a natural gas generator. Fueled continually by natural gas, most generators are fully automatic. Within seconds of an outage, the unit comes on, supplies power, and switches off when power returns. 

Before the Storm

Customers are encouraged to know the location of their natural gas meter.

Virginia Natural Gas advises customers to leave their gas meter on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within their homes or businesses and to prevent water from entering the lines should flooding occur. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.

Your natural gas service should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm. Only Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel should turn the valve off. In cases of severe lightning, customers might want to unplug natural gas appliances to avoid possible electrical damage.

Customers are urged to report a natural gas emergency to the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 877.572.3342. The damage assessment and restoration process begins once the storm has passed, and it’s safe for our crews to proceed with gathering information and determining the extent of the service needs in the affected areas.

During/Immediately After the Storm

  • Natural gas is injected with a chemical odorant called mercaptan, which many people equate to that of a distinctive “rotten egg” type scent. If the odor of gas is present when you return to your home, immediately leave the affected area and call our 24-hour emergency response line, at 877.572.3342 from a safe location. Residents should never try to identify the source of a leak themselves.
  • If you smell gas, avoid using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landline as natural gas can ignite from a spark, possibly causing a fire or explosion.
  • If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are or have been submerged under water, do not try to operate the appliances.
  • During clean up and repair after a storm avoid causing damage to the gas lines by calling 811 before digging. This also pertains to removing downed trees as they can become entangled with natural gas lines.
  • Following a weather emergency, ensure the gas meter is visible, and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage an unseen meter. If a natural gas meter is damaged or gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call our 24-hour emergency response number at 877.572.3342.

If your gas service was interrupted as a result of a severe storm, restoration time depends on when water recedes in flooded areas and customers’ homes and businesses are free of standing water, and when Virginia Natural Gas personnel can safely enter homes and businesses, and appliances are easily accessible by technicians.

Winter Weather Tips

The safety of our customers and communities is our highest priority. That’s why at all times, including when severe winter weather events related to snow and ice occur, we strongly advise customers to adhere to the following guidelines associated with natural gas meter and appliance venting safety:

Appliance Safety

  • Never use natural gas appliances, such as ovens or the burners on a stove, to heat your homes or businesses.
  • Make sure your heating system, water heater and any other natural gas appliances are serviced and inspected annually by a qualified licensed professional.
  • Do not use any defective natural gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by a qualified plumber or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • To ensure the safe, proper operation of natural gas appliances, such as a furnace or water heater, and to prevent the potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide within your home or business, ensure that outdoor vent openings and air intakes are not obstructed by snow or ice.
  • If you smell natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home or business, immediately leave the area and call 9-1-1 or our emergency number (1-877-572-3342) from a safe location.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if anyone in your home or business experiences possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Meter Safety

  • Know where your natural gas meter is located.
  • Following a weather emergency, ensure the gas meter is visible and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
  • Exercise caution removing snow or ice from your natural gas meter assembly. Use your hands or a broom, not a shovel, to brush away snow or ice from your meter and regulator. Never kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a hammer or any hard object to break away built-up snow or ice.
  • If a natural gas meter is damaged or underground gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call 9-1-1 or our 24-hour emergency response number (1-877-572-3342) from a safe location.

Detecting Gas Leaks

  • If you smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present, immediately leave the affected area and call 9-1-1 or the 24-hour emergency response line (1-877-572-3342) from a safe location.
  • Never try to identify the source of a leak yourself.
  • If the odor of natural gas is present, do not use a telephone or cellphone in the area of the odor. Do not turn light switches on or off. Do not operate any appliance or do anything that might cause a spark, such as lighting a match.

Damage Prevention

  • Heavy snow and ice may weigh down power lines and tree limbs, causing them to fall. If a natural gas meter is damaged or underground gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call 9-1-1 or the 24-hour emergency response line (1-877-572-3342​) from a safe location.