With Memorial Day almost upon us, it is time to make sure your hurricane preparedness plans are in place in advance of the Atlantic hurricane season which runs June 1st to November 30th. The peak of the hurricane season falls between mid-August and late October, however, there is always a chance of a damaging hurricane to venture into our area.
The Suffolk Office of Emergency Management would like to remind citizens that Coastal Virginia can fall into the bullseye of a hurricane and knowing how and where to evacuate to is important information to have. Last year, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management debuted the Know Your Zone program and website which established four tiered evacuation zones which provide residents with clarity on whether they should evacuate in an emergency or shelter at home based on their physical street address and the nature of the emergency event. Residents can visit www.knowyourzoneva.org. The site offers a detailed, interactive, color-coded map showing each evacuation zone. Residents can use the map to view their region or zoom in to their residential neighborhood and street to confirm their designated evacuation zone.
When a storm is approaching, emergency managers will determine which zones are most at risk considering the intensity, path, speed, tides and other meteorological factors. Emergency managers at the state and local level will work with local media and use social media and other tools to notify residents of impacted zones what they should do to stay safe. Depending on the emergency and where you reside, being safe might mean staying at home, a short trip to higher ground, or traveling to a different region of the state.
Each year, many coastal communities experience threats from hurricanes including heavy rains, strong winds, rip currents, floods and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. A hurricane’s high winds may spawn tornadoes. Torrential rains cause further damage by causing floods and landslides, which not only threaten coastal communities but may impact communities many miles inland.
For more information, contact the Suffolk Division of Emergency Management at 757-514-4536, or visit their webpage at www.suffolkva.us/emergencymanagement.