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Prepare Now for Hurricane Season Which Has Already Begun
From The VA Dept. of Emergency Management

Prepare imageRICHMOND – Virtually universal power outages. Nearly 80 percent of housing stock destroyed. Businesses and tourism attractions leveled. Hospitals and government facilities inoperable. Millions of residents looking to hobbled government agencies for immediate lifesaving aid. While this is the nightmare scenario for many, in 2017 this was the reality for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas when multiple hurricanes pounded their region.

Virginia has not experienced a direct hit from a major hurricane in generations. Still, it is not a question of if, but when the Commonwealth will face devastation akin to these very real nightmare scenarios. For that reason, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) is encouraging all Virginians to prepare for 2018 hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. The time to prepare is now.

"With the images of 2017’s deadly and devastating hurricanes indelible for many, Virginia emergency managers at the local and state level began preparing months ago for this year’s hurricane season,” said Dr. Jeff Stern, State Coordinator of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "However, government alone cannot make Virginians hurricane ready. Preparing for hurricanes is a responsibility shared by all Virginians.”

Hurricane impacts are not just a problem for Virginia’s coastal regions. Hurricane devastation can reach from Southwest Virginia to the National Capitol Region, and from the Shenandoah Valley to the Eastern Shore.

Hurricanes cause high winds, tornadoes and landslides, but their deadliest hazard is flooding. Tropical storms and depressions can be just as dangerous. Over the past several decades, hurricanes have repeatedly battered eastern Virginia, killing dozens of people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

The list of hurricane impacts in Virginia is long:
  • 2016’s Hurricane Matthew defied hurricane models and left a trail of power outages, inland and coastal flooding and disrupted lives, particularly in Virginia Beach where residents are still recovering.
  • In September 2011, flash flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee displaced hundreds of residents from destroyed and heavily damaged homes and cause widespread damage to public property.
  • In August 2011, Hurricane Irene left millions of dollars in property damage in Central and Coastal Virginia and caused the second-highest level of power outages in Virginia history, affecting about 2.5 million people.
  • 2002’s Hurricane Isabel — one of the costliest disasters in Virginia’s history — was a tropical storm when it entered Virginia causing damage to 75 percent of the state.
  • Flooding associated with Hurricane Camille killed more than 100 Virginians in one night in 1969.
How to Prepare
If you live in coastal Virginia,  know your hurricane evacuation zone for both your home and your workplace by visiting www.KnowYourZoneVA.org.  For the rest of Virginia,  learn more at www.vaemergency.gov/hurricanes.  Download Virginia’s 2018 Hurricane Preparedness Guide and read more about flooding, tornadoes and other associated threats.

Know your risk for inland or coastal flooding, and take steps to mitigate that risk. Obtain flood insurance now. Regular homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Remember, it takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to become effective. FEMA does not provide comprehensive disaster funding to repair homes that flooded but didn’t have insurance.  Visit www.floodsmart.gov or talk to your insurance agent about low-cost flood insurance  policy options.  Learn more about becoming flood ready at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threats/.

Have a family and business emergency plan that includes decisions on whether, how and where to evacuate, or how to safely shelter in place. Don’t have a plan? Learn what to include at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/make-emergency-plan/.

Assemble an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food, water, sanitary supplies, cell phones, radios and extra batteries and important documents. Learn more about what to have in your kit at http://www.vaemergency.gov/emergency-kit/.

Stay informed as a storm approaches by following your local media, the National Weather Service and  VDEM on Facebook (www.facebook.com/vaemergency)  and Twitter (@VDEM).

 





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