June 1st marked the beginning of the 2023 hurricane season. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this year it is expected to have near-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic with 12 -17 named storms (source). While the hurricane season is already underway, most tropical storm activity occurs around September (source). If you have not already done so, now would be a good time to start your hurricane preparations. Here are a few items to check off your hurricane prep list.
1. Review your current insurance.
In a coastal community like Hampton Roads, it’s not only the hurricane-force winds that pose a threat, but also flooding from extended downpour and tidal surge. Just 1 inch of flood water can cost $25k in damage (source). Additionally, most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Don’t know where to start? Take a look at www.getfloodfluent.org to get you pointed in the right direction. But act quickly, most flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins.
2. Know Your Zone.
In the event of severe weather, voluntary or mandatory evacuation may be necessary. Localities in Hampton Roads utilize a zoned evacuation. Zones are designated A through D and provide residents with clarity on whether they should evacuate in an emergency or shelter at home, based on their physical street address and the nature of the emergency event. Visit www.vaemergency.gov/know-your-zone to determine which zone your address is located.
3. Signup for locality alerts.
During a disaster, staying informed is a top priority. Many localities utilize alert systems to send official, real-time alerts to the public with information about potentially life-saving actions citizens may need to take to keep themselves and their families safe. Search for “emergency alert” on your locality’s website to sign up.
4. Build a Kit and make a plan.
Tropical storms can bring substantial disruptions to the goods and services we utilize every day. Things like electrical power, communications, and the food industry may be temporarily unavailable. Planning ahead will greatly mitigate these impacts. For resources on building your personalized kit and plan, see www.vaemergency.gov/prepare and www.ready.gov .
Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive forces. These massive storms can bring torrential rains, high winds, storm surges, and devastating flooding. In light of these threats it is imperative that individuals, families, and communities to be well-prepared to mitigate these risks and ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.