RICHMOND, Va. – 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.
To emphasize the importance of preparing for hurricane season, Governor Terry McAuliffe has designated May 22-28 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.
“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.
How to Prepare
- Sign up for text alerts/weather warnings that may be offered by your locality.
- Talk to an insurance agent about flood insurance. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding. That is a separate policy. Renters and business owners also can get flood insurance. Just one inch of water in a mid-size home or office can mean $20,000 in repairs. Go to www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-379-9531 for more information. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before the policy goes into effect.
- Assemble a disaster supply kit for your home, office and car. Items that are important to have during an emergency include: cell phone backup power, batteries, flashlights, lanterns, bottled water, first aid kits, 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 or use the new Ready Virginia app.
- People with disabilities and others with access and functional needs may need to take additional steps. Visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit/disabilities for tips.
Name: Dawn Eischen
Phone: (804) 897-9730 or (804) 674-2400
Address: 10501 Trade Court | Richmond, Virginia | 23226
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971