As National Hurricane Preparedness Week comes to a close, hurricane safety and the upcoming hurricane season are at the front of residents’ minds on the United States coasts.
The 2019 hurricane season does not start until June 1, but there has already been at least one tropical disturbance tracked in the Atlantic Ocean since May 1, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In the Historic Triangle, localities have been disseminating hurricane preparedness information on social media about how residents can stay safe during emergencies and extreme weather.
Here’s a run down on how to be prepared for hurricane season:
Know your zone
It’s something emergency officials in Virginia say every year: Know your zone.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has divided the roughly 1.25 million Virginians who live on the coast into several evacuation zones, A through D.
Unlike parts of the Southside such as Norfolk, much of James City County, York County and Williamsburg do not fall into any of the evacuation zones.
It’s best to check the VDEM evacuation zone map, however, because some neighborhoods are in those zones.
Jamestown Island and parts of Dare, Seaford and Poquoson fall into Zone A, the most likely to be impacted by hurricane-related floods.
Areas around Governor’s Land, Kingsmill, the Chickahominy River and parts of Dare and Seaford are also in zones B, C and D.
FEMA has compiled a list of items that may be necessary to have ready for an emergency situation, including:
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Flooding in Hampton Roads is a growing concern for many homeowners, triggering the need to consider flood insurance.
GetFloodFluent.org contains information about flood insurance and fast facts on flooding in the region.
“Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. Period,” the site reads.
Help your neighbors
The Department of Homeland Security operates a website, Ready.gov, with information about preparing for emergencies.
According to that website, 46 percent of people rely “a great deal” on people in their neighborhood for assistance in the first 72 hours following a disaster.
Neighbors should help each other collect the supplies they’ll need before the storm, then assist them if an evacuation is ordered.