EDITORIAL: Hurricane season approaching

Published 5:26 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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From our friends at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management comes a reminder that this is Hurricane Preparedness Week. 

Hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is just around the corner on June 1. 

“It is never too early to prepare for the impact of tropical weather,” said VDEM State Coordinator Shawn Talmadge. “Tropical systems are a statewide concern, not just a coastal concern. All Virginians need to be prepared.”

Such nudges are helpful after an uneventful hurricane season in 2022. This far north on the Atlantic Coast, we tend to get a little complacent in the absence of big storms, which are more common further south.

Per VDEM, here are some important tips to ensure your safety before, during and after severe weather.

Make a plan

If you need to evacuate, you can move faster if you’ve already thought about what to do.

Determine in advance where you’ll go and your evacuation route(s).

Know how you’ll communicate and reconnect if your family isn’t together when a storm hits.

Make a kit

Have emergency food, water, and other supplies to last at least 72 hours.

A good time to build your kit is when there isn’t an imminent threat.

Take the needs of individual family members like seniors, babies and pets into consideration.

A list of suggested items can be found at https://www.vaemergency.gov/attachments/emergency-kit/

Prepare your home

Before a hurricane, you’ll need to prepare your home by cleaning out drains and gutters, checking the yard and removing or securing anything that could become a projectile like bicycles, planters, grills and lawn furniture.

Cover doors and windows.

Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery.

For these and other tips, visit vaemergency.gov/threats/hurricanes/

Purchase or renew flood insurance

It typically takes up to 30 days for a flood insurance policy to go into effect, so it’s better not to wait until a storm is imminent.

People often don’t realize until it’s too late that separate policies are needed for protection against wind and flood damage because a regular homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover them.

Know your evacuation zone

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management designed evacuation zones for all coastal regions to simplify the process of determining whether a resident should evacuate or shelter at home in an emergency based on their address. Look up evacuation zones at vaemergency.gov/know-your-zone/.

Stay informed

Sign up for emergency alerts from your local office of emergency management and know where to get the latest information.