ISSUE: Hurricane Preparedness

FACT: Being prepared for hurricane season can make a world of difference for a household. Insure your belongings, have your supplies ready and “Know Your Zone” before a storm hits.

Hurricane season officially began on June 1 and we’ve already had one named Atlantic storm this year. In fact, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is predicting there could be up to 16 named storms this season. Nine could become hurricanes and up to four could be classified as category 3 or higher.

There are a number of things you can do ahead of time that could make a difference for you and your family.​

Flood Insurance
The most important thing to consider for your home is flood insurance. A common misconception is that homes that are not in a flood zone aren’t eligible for such coverage. That’s not the case. Any home can have a flood insurance policy.

Insurance is sold through local agents as part of the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. Homeowners can take out separate polices to insure the structure and any contents inside. Homes that are in a designated flood zone are required to have flood insurance, and it’s typically a stipulation during the sale of a house. In fact, it’s recommended that homes outside of a flood zone also have coverage, especially in coastal communities, like Virginia Beach. Nationally, about 30 percent of flood insurance claims come from homes that aren’t in a flood zone.

Premiums vary by a number of factors such as location, age of the dwelling and value of insured contents inside the home. For more information about the NFIP, please visit FEMA.gov/NFIP.​

Know Your Zone

The state introduced “Know Your Zone” last year to simplify evacuation processes when it becomes necessary. There are four zones, lettered A-D, that specify your evacuation zone based on your address and nature of the emergency event. State and local agencies will alert residents by their zones if there is a need to evacuate or shelter in place. While not every neighborhood is in a zone, that doesn’t mean you’ll never have to evacuate, so you’ll still need to pay attention to official announcements and news. 

To find your zone, go to KnowYourZoneVA.org. Once there, follow the on-screen instructions to enter your address and determine where you fall on the map.​

Know Your Way Out

Have an evacuation plan, become familiar with it and make sure your family is aware of it as well. The most common routes:
  • If you live north of I-264, head north and west along I-64 and across the HRBT and move inland
  • If you live south of I-264, head south and west on I-64 towards Suffolk and Highway 460
Continue to head inland and away from the coast to lessen the impact of a storm.
Keep in mind that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel will likely be closed if an incoming storm has high winds. Avoid going north on Highway 13 and opt for the other routes.

Sheltering in Place

Have a cache of supplies that will last each member of your household, including any pets or infants, at least three days. Some of the basic supplies are:
  • Water – one gallon per person, per day
  • Food – Non-perishable or canned goods
  • Medications and first-aid supplies
  • Portable lights and batteries
  • Portable radio
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Cash – to purchase one week’s worth of supplies for your household
For a complete list of items to have on hand, and comprehensive information on disaster preparedness, please visit VBgov.com/readyVB​.

For more information about the City's stormwater and flood mitigation efforts, check out the May 11 episode of VB411. You can also read this article explaining the City's 15-year stormwater infrastructure improvement plan​.

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