PHILADELPHIA – On September 12, 2018, Hurricane Florence was approaching the mid-Atlantic region as a massive Category 4 hurricane, threatening to bring dangerous storm surge, winds, and massive flooding to coastal Virginia. Within a couple of days, the storm tracked south but brought strong winds and rain to eastern Virginia instead, causing damage across the Commonwealth. The remnants of Florence spawned tornadoes in Richmond and brought flooding to Danville, among other incidents of damage. Less than a month later, Hurricane Michael rapidly developed into a Category 5 hurricane and caused devastation across multiple states, including Virginia. As the 2017 and 2018 Hurricane Seasons have shown, a hurricane can cause widespread damage. A category 1 hurricane can cause extensive property damage with wind, water and storm surge, and the impact only gets worse as a hurricane intensifies.
Everyone should know their risk for hurricanes and take steps to prepare. “We continue to work with all of our partners to prepare for the 2019 hurricane season,” stated MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. “The past few years have seen hurricanes impact states across the country. Take time to prepare yourself – consider purchasing flood insurance to protect yourself from the financial ruin a flood can cause, know your community’s plans for hurricanes, and plan for what you’ll do if a hurricane is forecast.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a near-normal 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season; however, it only takes one hurricane or tropical storm to have a major impact on a community. Pay attention to the forecast tracks for hurricanes and take steps to prepare even if you’re outside the cone, because hurricanes and tropical storms can have impacts beyond the cone.
Take action to prepare for hurricanes by:
- Know your risk of hurricanes and prepare in advance.
- Plan ahead – know what you’ll do if a hurricane could impact your area, how to contact your family, and any community emergency plans.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Stay tuned for the latest information. Follow the guidance of your local officials and check media and weather reports via official sources, including social media.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance to protect your property from potential flood damage.
- Most homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage.
- Flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective – don’t wait until the last minute!
- Visit www.Floodsmart.gov for more information.
- Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.