Prepare Now for Chance of Hurricane

August 31st, 2010 by Amber Lester

HurricaneEarl
National Weather Service satellite image of Hurricane Earl.

Hurricane Earl is churning off the East Coast, threatening Labor Day weekend with high waves, hard rains and heavy winds. In case it hits the Peninsula, it’s best to be prepared for possible downed trees, floodwaters or power outages.

As of Tuesday, Earl was projected to spin toward Virginia late Thursday night, soaking South Side Hampton Roads by 8 a.m. Friday. The storm is forecast to be a category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 135 miles per hour. For detailed maps of areas projected to be affected by storm surge flooding in the event of a hurricane, click here.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is recommending Hampton Roads residents prepare for the potential impact by reviewing their evacuation and shelter plans, and stocking emergency supplies.

The state has activated the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operation Response, and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center is now at increased Readiness Condition. “A small change in Earl’s forecasted path could bring a major hurricane to Virginia,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, in a press release. “Virginia state agencies are getting ready for the storm, and so should residents.”

Gather Supplies for Hurricane Kit

Ready Virginia recommends having enough supplies to last each person three days. Here are the following essentials:

• Food that does not need electricity for storage or preparation.

Emergency Coordinators

James City County:Tal Luton,757-565-7605

Williamsburg: Pat Dent, 757-220-6225

York County: Stephen Kopczynski, 757-890-3600

• Manual can opener for food.

• Water, at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation.

• Battery-powered or hand crank radio with extra batteries.

• Written family emergency plan

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• First Aid kit and medical reference book

• Prescription medications and eyewear

• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties.

• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

• Items for infants and toddlers.

• Items for pets.

• Local maps.

• Copies of important family documents, such as insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.

• Cash

• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

• Complete change of clothing

• Fire extinguisher

• Matches in a waterproof container

• Personal hygiene items

• Paper dinnerware and plastic cutlery

• Paper and pencil

• Activities and entertainment for children, such as books or games.

For more ideas, visit Ready Virginia.

Create Family Emergency Plan

Ready Virginia recommends creating a Family Emergency Plan that takes into account the different needs of each family member, including pets. Here are some tips for developing an emergency plan:

• Share your plans with neighbors and see how you could help each other in the event of an emergency.

• Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your emergency contact for all family members to check in. It is often easier to call outside your affected area.

• Be sure everyone in your family has the emergency contact’s phone number.

• Agree on a location for family members to meet in case it is impossible to return home.

• Check with your locality to find out what options exist for people who don’t have access to cars.

• Make a visual or written record of your possessions to help you claim losses in the event of damage. Include anything that increases the value of your property for tax purposes, such as landscaping.

• Make a plan for your pets. Investigate options for sheltering pets in the event of an emergency.

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