ISSUE: Understanding Virginia’s Know Your Zone Program

FACT: The Commonwealth of Virginia has identified four zones, designated A through D, in coastal areas of the state to help determine when evacuations may be necessary due to pending storms. Residents can determine their zone status anytime by visiting​

​​​​​Hurricane readiness may not be first on your mind without a hurricane on the way, but if you haven’t been to Virginia’s Know Your Zone website​ yet, it’s a good idea to do it when things are calm. The state-run website can get overloaded when the demand is high. Just enter your address and the map will zero in on your home and tell you your zone.

If you’re unable to view the map online, please call Virginia’s information hotline, 211, from any phone and an operator can assist you. Once you know your zone, write it down and stick it to your refrigerator, make a note in your phone or keep it with your emergency kit.

Whether a property is in Zone A, B, C or D depends on a number of factors, including the actual address, the elevation of the property, proximity to water, and potential for impacts from storm surge. A common misconception we’ve heard from residents is that zones are only based on zip codes. Not so! It’s important to remember that the zones are for hurricane and tropical storm events, and are categorized by the impact from storm surge, not rainfall.

Now, some addresses are not actually in a zone at all. That means the address has the lowest risk of flooding based on the previously mentioned criteria. But, don’t put that emergency kit away just yet! Even if an address isn’t in a zone, those residents may be asked to evacuate with zone D addresses if conditions are severe enough. Pay attention to announcements from state and local agencies during an event for any special instructions.

Another important thing to remember: An evacuation zone is not the same thing as a flood zone. They are two separate concepts, and it’s equally important to know how your address fits into both. A flood zone map is available at​ under the VBGov City Map option. From there, select the layers menu in the upper right corner and click on the flood zone layer. You can then enter your address and find out if it’s in a flood zone or not.

Hurricane season is officially over on November 30, but it’s always a good idea to prepare. For more hurricane readiness tips, check out our previous episode​ on the topic. If you’d like to know what to put in an emergency kit of your own, along with other emergency preparedness tips, please visit
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