RICHMOND, Va. -- As peak hurricane season approaches, Gov. Northam is warning Virginians to prepare amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The traditional Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, and forecasters are projecting an above average season—there have been eight named storms so far this year, and the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season made landfall in Texas on July 25.
The state has developed the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic [r20.rs6.net], which highlights preparedness, response, and recovery actions in the event of tropical weather in coastal areas of the Commonwealth.
This year’s guide includes pandemic considerations such as updating kits to include sanitation and personal protective supplies and following public health guidance. The Commonwealth is also preparing to adjust operations to ensure the delivery of critical services while adhering to social distancing guidelines and keeping people safe from storm impacts.
“Hurricane season brings added challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are committed to ensuring that Virginians know their risks, get prepared, and stay informed,” said Governor Northam. “Our administration remains actively focused on planning for simultaneous emergencies, and we will continue to adjust our plans as needed to protect public health and keep the Commonwealth safe. As our government agencies prepare for the possibility of a complex incident involving a major natural disaster amid virus outbreaks, it is also important that individuals and businesses make sure they are ready as well.”
The state has outlined tips to protect yourself during hurricane season:
- Know your zone. Evacuation may become necessary depending on the track and severity of the storm. Review Virginia’s evacuation zones at KnowYourZoneVA.org [r20.rs6.net]. It is important to note that the zone colors have been updated for 2020. Users can enter their physical address in the search bar of the website to view and confirm their designated evacuation zone.
- Complete a family communication plan. Prepare for how you will assemble and communicate with your family and loved ones. Identify meeting locations and anticipate where you will go. Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance on family communications plans is available here [r20.rs6.net].
- Check your insurance coverage. Remember, there may be a waiting period for a flood insurance policy to become effective, and be aware that not all hurricane-related losses, such as flooding, are covered under traditional policies. Now is the time to review your coverage and contact your insurance agent for any changes. If you are not insured against floods, talk to your insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov [r20.rs6.net]. If you are a renter, now is the time to ensure you have adequate coverage to protect your belongings.
- Make an emergency kit. Assemble an emergency kit that includes nonperishable food, water, medication, sanitary supplies, radios, extra batteries, and important documents. Learn more about building an emergency supply kit here [r20.rs6.net].
- Stay informed. Identify where to go for trusted sources of information during emergencies. Check with your local emergency management office to sign up for alerts that go directly to your phone or email. Be sure to monitor local news for watches and warnings in your area and follow directions of local officials. Power outages are always a concern during weather events—make sure you have a battery-operated radio available so you can still receive life-saving alerts.