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Virginians urged to be hurricane ready

Of all the weather events that impact Virginia the most, hurricanes top the list.

Historical storms like Camille, Fran, Floyd, Isabel, Gaston and Irene are a reminder to inland and coastal residents that significant flooding, damages and loss of life can occur in Virginia, according to a press release.

To emphasize the importance of preparing for hurricane season, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has designated May this week as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week in Virginia. Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a near-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin with 12 named storms, five to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, according to the release.

“While we hope this hurricane season will be uneventful, it only takes one storm to cause severe damage and even loss of life,” said state coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern.

“Now is the time to gather emergency supplies, evaluate your insurance needs and update preparedness plans.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) considers hurricanes among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. Even when hurricanes make landfall in other states, they can still cause significant damage and loss of life in Virginia.

In fact, some of the worst storms in Virginia›s history were from hurricanes that made landfall in other states. Tropical storms or depressions can be just as damaging or deadly as a hurricane.
Residents can sign up for text alerts/weather warnings that may be offered by their locality.

Residents are urged to assemble a disaster supply kit for their homes, offices and cars. Items that are important to have during an emergency include cell phone backup power, batteries, flashlights, lanterns, bottled water, first aid kits and NOAA Weather Radios and portable generators.

For a complete list of important emergency items, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Download the free Ready Virginia app for iPhone® and Android™. 

Features include: NWS warnings; customizable emergency plan; an emergency supplies checklist; the “I’m Safe!” text feature for notifying friends and family in an emergency; and an interactive map to identify potential storm surge risks.

Create a family emergency communications plan. 

Decide how and where everyone will meet up with each other if separated. Choose an out-of-town emergency contact for your family and give that person’s phone number to each family member.

Make a sheet of emergency contacts and post it in visible places in your home and workplace, rather than relying on smartphones or online contact lists. Get a free emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.ListoVirginia.gov.

Visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit/disabilities for tips.