​​​​​​​In the event of a hurricane, be aware that an evacuation order does not necessarily mean that all citizens need to leave town in order to stay safe. City officials will announce the exact evacuation zones where people need to evacuate. Most often, evacuation orders are issued to keep citizens safe from storm surge and are therefore usually intended for those living or working near water or in low-lying areas prone to flooding.

Know Your Zone 

KYZ2020.pngOn June 1, 2020 the Commonwealth of Virginia launched new tiered evacuation zones for coastal communities. Developed in partnership with local emergency managers, these zones are based on the most up-to-date flooding and engineering data for the region.

​The zones, designated A through D, are designed to provide greater clarity about whether a resident should evacuate in an emergency or shelter at home or place of business based on their address and the nature of the emergency. 

Avoiding unnecessary evacuation will help reduce traffic congestion and lessen overcrowding at storm shelters.  

When a serious storm is expected to impact Virginia's coastal region, state and local emergency managers and officials will work with local news media outlets that will broadcast and publish evacuation instructions to the public. 

You just need to know your zone. To find out which zone you live (or work) in.  

The Know Your Zone website displays a detailed, interactive, color-coded map showing the new evacuation zones. People can use the new map to view a "big picture" of the region or zoom in to their neighborhood. Users can enter their address in a search bar to see their designated evacuation zone. 

If your address is not located in a designated zone, the good news is you are not expected to be evacuated due to any of the identified storm scenarios. However, that does not mean you will never have to heed instructions from your local emergency manager for major emergencies, so be sure to keep an eye on news reports. 

To find out if you are in a high-risk area, view the maps available at Virginia Emergency Storm Surge Tool .

Mobile homes and trailers are particularly vulnerable to wind damage. Anyone living in these structures should also evacuate regardless of the threat of flooding.

Gridlock can be deadlyCar brake lights

If there are too many people leaving town unnecessarily, the resulting gridlock on the highway poses a serious safety threat. Being stuck in traffic with no place to go and a major storm just hours away is a recipe for disaster.  If you must leave your home because you live in an evacuation zone, you may want to consider  staying with a friend in a well-prepared home away from the water or in a similarly prepared hotel. Sometimes this can mean traveling 20 miles instead of 200.

If you live in an area that has not been ordered to evacuation, it may be best to simply batten down in your home after careful preparation and ride out the storm there.

If You Plan to Leave Town, LEAVE EARLY

If you have time, prepare your home to withstand the storm as much as possible while you’re gone.
shuttered window
  • Put up shutters, plywood or metal window covers.
  • Move patio furniture, hanging plants, gas grills, etc. indoors. If your home is likely to flood, raise valuables and expensive furniture off the floor as best you can. If you live in a two-story, move items to second floor.
  • Confirm reservations if staying at a motel, or notify relatives/friends to expect you.
  • Have a contingency plan. Scout out other places between your home and your ultimate destination where you could stay if roads are backed up. Keep a list of telephone numbers for each of those places. Do not stay in your car during a hurricane. If congested is so bad you can't get anywhere, go back home immediately.
  • Turn off your electricity at the main circuit breaker or fuse box before leaving. This will protect your appliances from power surges and reduce the risk of electrocution if there are exposed live wires after the hurricane.
  • If your house uses natural or propane gas, turn it off at the meter/tank.
  • Do a final walk-through inspection of your home just before you walk out. Make sure you have valuables or other necessary items – keys, checkbook, credit cards, etc.
  • Pack the car wisely. Include a first- aid kit, water and food, dry clothes, flares, and extra gasoline in an approved container.
  • Do not attempt to tow a trailer or boat in high winds. It is too dangerous.

Evacuation Routes

Be aware that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is NOT a designated hurricane evacuation route (it is susceptible to high winds).

Virginia Beach Residents May Take Any of the Following Evacuation Routes

​• Interstates 64 & 264
• Interstate 664 North Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel
• U.S. Route 17 North
• U.S. Route 58 West 
• U.S. Route 460 West 
• Route 10 West​

Reversing the Highways

Only the governor can issue the order for a lane reversal on I-64. The I-64 reversal plan begins in Norfolk, just east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT), at mile marker 273 and ends at I-295.

If the governor orders a lane reversal, no traffic will be allowed to travel east between mile markers 273 and 200. All eastbound lanes and ramps will be closed to eastbound traffic.

All traffic entering I-64 at 4th View St. (Exit 273) will travel in the westbound lanes. All traffic entering I-64 west of the HRBT will travel in the westbound lanes as well.
There will be only two possible exits from the reversed lanes between Norfolk and I-295:
Exit 234 in Williamsburg (Route 199) for gas, food, lodging and hospital
Exit 205 in Bottoms Bridge for gas and food.
Motorists who exit the reversed lanes at these exits may not re-enter the reversed lanes. They may only re-enter I-64 using the regular I-64 westbound ramps.
All motorists traveling in the westbound lanes of I-64 can exit and enter the interstate as they normally would, but some entrance and/exit ramps may be closed for traffic control.
At the I-295 interchange, motorists on I-64 westbound lanes must take Exit 200 and travel on I-295 north toward Fredericksburg and Northern Virginia or I-295 south toward Petersburg. Motorists on I-64 reversed lanes (normally eastbound) will cross over to I-64 west lanes and continue west toward the I-95 interchange.
For more in-depth information on how to evacuate safely, check out the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide.

When the Call Is Made, Know What to Take with You

Visit the Disaster Supplies page for tips on what to bring with you if you choose to evacuate your home. ​

Contact Information