Hurricanes are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. During Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 5-11, the City of Alexandria urges residents and businesses to be prepared for a potential land-falling storm or hurricane. In 2018, the Atlantic coast saw 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, two of which were ranked Category 3 or above.
Hurricane Preparedness Information and Tips
Making preparations for an emergency now is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, property, and community when there is one. Residents and businesses should find out if they are in an evacuation area; assess their risks; and determine if their property is vulnerable to storm surge, flooding or winds.
- A family emergency plan will help you decide where to meet if you are separated, how to care for your pets, and secure your home.
- An emergency communications plan will guide you through organizing important information about the individuals in your household, including phone numbers for utilities, emergency contact information, doctors, and schools to ensure the information is readily available to everyone.
- A basic emergency kit checklist will help you gather medications, non-perishable food, pet supplies, clothing, tools and safety items, and other items you need in an emergency.
Understanding Tropical Storm and Hurricane Messages
The severity of the message is key to how soon to expect a storm’s impact and the level of action you will need to take.
A WATCH means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.
Preparation During a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch:
- Monitor local radio or television stations for official emergency information and instructions.
- Review your emergency kit checklist, family emergency plan and emergency communications plan with your household.
- Make an evacuation plan to use in case you are asked to do so by local officials.
- Fuel and service vehicles.
- Make interior and exterior preparations for your property (information is available at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Hurricane Preparation page).
A WARNING means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
Once a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning is Declared:
- Closely monitor radio, TV, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for official bulletins.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if told to do so!
- Turn the refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary, and pack your freezer with as much as you can. This will help food stay colder longer.
- Fill bathtubs and large containers with water for sanitary purposes.
- If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors. Go to an interior first-floor room such as a bathroom or closet. Close all interior doors and brace external doors.
For more information about hurricane preparedness, including flooding information, food and water safety, post-storm cleanup instructions, a Virginia evacuation guide and more, visit this link.