Friday, May 20, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness Day 6 - Get a Plan!

During a hurricane Richmond residents will likely be told to shelter in place rather than evacuate, unless you live in a low lying area near the James River.  Sheltering in place and avoid traveling during the storm is advised.  Having a plan to shelter in place and a family communication plan is critical to being prepared.  Often major storms can impact or overwhelm communications infrastructure, making it difficult to call and communicate to your loved ones locally.  Consider identifying a friend or relative out of town that family members can call and check in with to report their safety and well being.  Oftentimes it is easier to make a call out of the impacted area than it is to make calls locally.  Also consider having a plan to be self sufficient at home for 72 hours or 3 days without electricity. 

Watch this video from the National Hurricane Center on planning for hurricane season:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness Day 5 - After the Forecast

 Forecasts are what local emergency managers rely on, the accuracy and detail matter a great deal to the decisions made at the local level.  For hurricanes, advancements in technology allows forecasters to predict where the storm will make landfall and what intensity.   Once the storm begins approaching and the path is becoming more defined, watches and warnings will be issued for the impacted areas.  Local Emergency Management Offices begin monitoring the information soon after these storms form.  Coordination occurs with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and neighboring emergency management organizations.  Once it is apparent that the storm will impact the Richmond area, the City takes steps to mitigate potential issues as well as notify residents of what to expect and how to prepare for their families.  Widespread power outages are expected with large storms such as hurricanes, and preparedness is centered on what you would need to shelter in place for three days with no electricity.  With any storm it is important to follow local forecasts and be aware of the expected or potential impact.  Follow instructions given by local officials on how to protect yourself and your family.  

Watch this video from the National Hurricane Center on forecasting hurricanes:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness Day 4 - Inland Flooding

Flooding is the most common hazard for the City of Richmond, and can happen as the result of many types of weather events.  Overland flooding occurs when a waterway such as the James River overflows its banks.  Flash flooding occurs within a few minutes of heavy rainfall and often comes with little to no warning time.  Localized flooding can occur as a result from drainage of storm water and exists on a much smaller scale than flash and overland. 

All types of flooding should be taken seriously.  Never underestimate the potential damage or harm that a flood can cause.  A foot of water can float most vehicles so avoid driving through flooded roadways.  Also do not walk through flood waters as they often contain harmful chemicals or debris that could potentially cause injury.  

Check out this video from the National Hurricane Center on Inland Flooding:

Try these flood risk scenarios for more on your risk for experiencing a flood and visit for more information on how to prepare. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness Day 3 - Wind

Wind damage can result from a variety of significant weather events not just hurricanes.  Strong winds are a characteristic of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and nor’easters making wind damage a year round risk for the Richmond area.  During a storm that has the potential for strong winds it is important to remember how to stay safe:
  •  If  indoors, move away from windows and go to the your buildings lowest level
  •  If outdoors, seek shelter immediately
  • If in a mobile home, leave and take shelter in a sturdier building
  • If driving, pull of the road away from trees and utility poles which have the potential to fall

Also, don’t attempt to move downed power lines and report them to the power company.  Take precaution removing any downed trees from your property and seek professional assistance if able.  Check out this video from the National Hurricane Center to learn more about wind damage:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness Day 2 - Storm Surge

Today’s theme for Hurricane Preparedness Week is Storm Surge.  While storm surge does not impact Richmond, it does impact the coastal and tidewater areas of the state where many people vacation during the summer months which coincides with hurricane season.  Check out this video from NOAA on Storm Surge: 

Even though Richmond does not face the potential harm of storm surge, flooding is an issue with the proximity to the James River.  The tidal portion of the James River begins in Richmond and Wednesday's preparedness theme will address inland flooding so make sure you check back to find out about more about this hazard.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kick Off to Hurricane Preparedness Week

Today starts the week long National Hurricane Preparedness Campaign. Each day will feature a different topic ending May 21st. The start of Hurricane season on June 1st and we want Richmond to be prepared!   The first day of Hurricane Preparedness Week starts with the basics of hurricanes, watch this video from the National Hurricane Center:

Do you know what you need to be prepared for hurricane season?  Consider starting by making a supply kit.  What items would your family need to shelter in place for 72 hours with no electricity?  Food and water are likely the first and very basic needs to stock.  Stocking non-perishable nutritious foods and one gallon of potable water per person per day for 3 days will be a great way to start building an emergency supply kit.  Start by adding a few extra grocery items each trip, by doing this will lessen the financial burden.  Additionally, remember that even non-perishable food and water have expiration dates so remember to check your kit regularly and replace items as needed. 

Other items to include in your emergency supply kit

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charge