The beginning of hurricane season is here and there have been changes to the evacuation maps you’ve been using. Coinciding with the start of Hurricane Season on June 1st, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management released new evacuation maps for Coastal Virginia. The new evacuation zones are designated A through D, and it is very important to Know Your Zone. In the event of a storm or other emergency, residents of one or more zones may be directed to evacuate.
To check what your Evacuation Zone is, visit the Evacuation Zone lookup site and enter your address. There you can find a color-coded map. In the legend you will see if you are in Zone A, B, C, D according to the designated color. Know Your Zone and listen to the instructions given by your city concerning actions to take in the event of a hurricane. Depending on the emergency, being safe might mean staying at home, a short trip to higher ground, or traveling to a different region of the state. This system does NOT change evacuation routes or FEMA flood maps.
Over the next few months you may hear a lot about the Know Your Zone campaign. The new zones are meant to help citizens avoid unnecessary evacuation travel, thereby reducing highway congestion, easing overcrowding at local storm shelters and boosting public safety. Know Your Zone will serve about 1.25 million people who live in coastal Virginia, the region of the state most vulnerable to hurricanes and other storms. The new evacuation zones can be viewed at www.KnowYourZoneVA.org.
“This new evacuation plan represents a significant step toward ensuring the safety of the Commonwealth’s residents and visitors,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The new data-driven plan will streamline the evacuation process by providing accurate and useful information to citizens based on their street addresses.
June 1 through November 30 is the official Atlantic Hurricane Season. Although storms can happen outside of this six-month time frame, according to the NOAA Hurricane Research Division there is “a very peaked season from August through October, with 78% of the tropical storm days, 87% of the minor hurricane days, and 96% of the major (Saffir-Simpson categories 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days occurring then.” Although no storms are in sight, the time to Know Your Zone is now.