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Now is the time to prepare for severe weather in Virginia

Posted at 7:46 AM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 08:30:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Now is the time to start preparing for a hurricane in Virginia, experts say.

May 9 through May 15 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and AAA is encouraging citizens to prepare their hurricane supply kits -- especially with the added coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the typical storm supplies, the CDC and AAA are suggesting including COVID-19 protection, like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

“Don’t wait to prepare until the next storm makes the local news,” says Martha Meade from AAA. “As we saw during quarantine, products can sell out quickly. Now is the time to collect emergency items for your hurricane supply kit, including personal protection equipment to protect you from COVID-19."

According to a study, one in five Virginians waits until 24 hours before a storm to prepare for it. This is partially because Virginia doesn't see as many severe storms as other states -- so it's easy to get caught off-guard.

These are the items recommended for a hurricane supply kit:

  • Water (one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days)
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Adequate supplies of paper towels, toilet paper and sanitizing wipes
  • Face masks, gloves, soap and hand sanitizer
  • Cell phone, power bank and charger
  • Pet food and extra water
  • Prescription medications
  • A container so you can easily take your items along if you have to evacuate to a shelter or other location

Here are some tips about food supply during a hurricane or storm:

  • Frozen Food: Plan in advance to know if frozen food has been affected: Place a cup or small container of water in the freezer. Once frozen, put a coin on top of the ice. If power is lost and thawing occurs, the coin will be lower in the ice or at the bottom of the cup. Even if the cup has ice in it, the fact that the coin has dropped means that thawing and re-freezing has occurred.
  • Appliance Thermometers: Keep appliance thermometers in freezers and refrigerators if one is not built in. The CDCmrecommends that refrigerators should remain below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for food to be safe.
  • How long can Food Last? Refrigerated food can only last about four hours before things like meat, eggs, meat and leftovers must be tossed.
  • Shut the Door! Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible to help maintain colder temperatures. Temperate in the door of the refrigerator fluctuates more than the body of the unit so things like eggs should go on the shelves rather than in the door.

Along with an upgraded hurricane supply kit, ensure you have an emergency plan and that you have communicated it to family members.

According to a 2015 FEMA study, 60% of Americans do not practice what to do in the event of a natural disaster.