Hampton Roads Hurricane Safety Tips

The devastation brought to Houston by Hurricane Harvey dominated the TV news for days as the death toll has risen. It led people in Virginia to consider Hampton Roads hurricane safety.

In a recent article, the Virginian-Pilot noted a storm that dumped more than 50 inches of rain on low-lying Hampton Roads would prove as devastating here as it did on the Texas coast.

A storm that dumps this much rain over several days is unlikely in Tidewater but it could happen. There are many variables, Jeff Orrock, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Wakefield said.

Orrock told the Pilot such a storm could cripple the region for days or even weeks.

Hampton Roads Hurricane Safety

Hampton Roads Hurricane Safety - Isabel hit the area hard in 2003 By Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA

After the remnants of Hurricane Matthew brought widespread flooding to Hampton Roads last year, residents remain nervous.  Today Irma, the ninth-named storm of an active season became a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic, reported WAVY.com.

In Hampton Roads, emergency planners are becoming increasingly concerned about tropical storms and hurricanes.

Justin Arnold, Portsmouth’s deputy coordinator of emergency management, said storms like Harvey and Matthew are “kind of changing the game.”

Torrential rainfall is replacing the wind as the most serious impact of these storms to lives and communities. The Pilot article stated scientists attribute these so-called “rain bombs” to climate change.

Emergency planners will be looking long and hard at what happened in Texas to tailor their plans to a rapidly changing scenario.

Whether or not a hurricane is heading our way there are some basic Hampton roads hurricane safety tips that can be taken.

Hampton Roads Hurricane Safety Tips

1 Know The Evacuation Routes

Even before the start of the season know where your nearest hurricane evacuation routes are in advance.

2 Make Sure Your Home Meets Storm Codes

Homes close to the coast should have storm shutters and meet codes to comply with storms.

3 Have Basic Supplies

Have tools, flashlights, batteries and a first aid kit

4 Have Durable Foods

You should have food supplies that are non-perishable and are usable if you lose power like canned goods. Before a watch or a warning is issued, you should

  • Evacuate from low lying areas.
  • Secure loose objects such as garden furniture;
  • Make sure to have several days supply of non-perishable food or water;
  • Make sure your vehicle has a full gas tank.
  • If you are staying put, make sure to earmark a secure room away from windows.
  • Pay attention to local weather reports on radio, television, or the internet.
  • Board up your home and have storm shutters in place.
  • Make sure cell phones are fully charged in case you need to call the emergency services.
  • Make sure your car contains emergency supplies.
  • Ensure you have access to your roof in case you have to be rescued.
  • Do not drive on flooded roads. Flood water may be deeper than you think and your car can be swept away into a water course.

During Hurricane Harvey, many of the fatalities were people in vehicles that were sucked into deep water courses. We also saw road deaths last year during Hurricane Matthew. If you decide to stay put during a storm, you should hunker down and avoid highways.

Griff O’Hanlon is an attorney with Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers in Hampton Roads. Call him at (757) 455-0077.

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