The Commonwealth of Virginia has unveiled new hurricane evacuation zones for coastal Virginia designed to enhance current evacuation plans, boost public safety, and improve travel efficiency in the event of hurricanes or other disasters. Learn about the new zones and get full hurricane preparedness information at the Ready Lancaster website.
In 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, the Commonwealth of Virginia unveiled new hurricane evacuation zones for coastal Virginia designed to enhance current evacuation plans, boost public safety, and improve travel efficiency in the event of hurricanes or other disasters.
The new zones take into account historic storm surge measurements, combined with projected effects of storms of different intensity, path, speed, tides, and other meteorological factors. The zones are based on the most up-to-date engineering data for the region. Avoiding unnecessary evacuation travel will reduce traffic congestion, promote highway safety, and lessen overcrowding at storm shelters. The new zones enhance the current evacuation plans and routes already designated in coastal Virginia.When a serious storm is expected to impact Virginia’s coastal region, Lancaster County Emergency Services will work with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to coordinate with local news media outlets that will broadcast and publish evacuation directives to the public.
What do residents need to do for the new tiered evacuation zone plan–it’s simple. You just need to Know Your Zone. To find out which zone you live (or work) in, visit www.KnowYourZoneVA.org.
The Know Your Zone website displays a detailed, interactive, color-coded map showing the new evacuation zones. People can use the new map to view a “big picture” of the region or zoom in to their neighborhood. Users can enter their address in a search bar to see their designated evacuation zone. You can also learn more about the zones at www.KnowYourZoneVA.org.
The two keys to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials. Stay tuned to 104.9 WIGO, and 101-7 Bay FM for complete storm coverage in the event a hurricane approaches the area.
Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
Learn more: Ready Lancaster website
Watches and Warnings – Learn the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours (24 hours for the Western North Pacific) in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.
Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.
Plan & Take Action
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?
Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Develop and document plans for your specific risks.
- Protect yourself and family with a Family Emergency Plan
- Be sure to plan for locations away from home
- Business owners and site locations should create Workplace Plans
- Pet owners should have plans to care for their animals.
- Prepare your boat and be aware of marine safety if you are on or near the water.
Katrina. Camille. Andrew. Maria. Sandy. These are names of hurricanes that will live in infamy. Which name or names this year might join that list of unforgettable storms? Only time will tell.
The World Meteorological Organization chooses hurricane names several years in advance, based on a strict criteria. If a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is “retired” by the WMO and replaced by another one.
List of 2023 hurricane names:
A storm is named when its winds travel counterclockwise and reach 39 mph, tropical storm strength. For more information, visit NOAA’s hurricane naming page.
Classification: Hurricanes are classified into five categories, based on wind speed and potential to cause damage:
- Category One – Winds 74-95 mph
- Category Two – Winds 96-110 mph
- Category Three – Winds 111-129 mph
- Category Four – Winds 130-156 mph
- Category Five – Winds greater than 157 mph
Evacuation order: This is the most important instruction people affected by hurricanes will receive. If issued, leave immediately.
Have you ever wondered why tropical storms and hurricanes are given names? It’s not to make these disastrous storms seem friendlier, that’s for sure. Storms are given names to make them easier to remember. But who picks the names?
How Are Storms Named?
Prior to the 1950s, meteorologists kept track of hurricanes and tropical storms by the year and the storms’ order for that year. So, for instance, the fifth tropical storm of 1938 was referred to as just that — the “fifth tropical storm of 1938” or “Storm 5.” Tropical storms and hurricanes that did a lot of damage received unofficial names—like the 1926 Great Miami Hurricane, which did so much damage that the Miami government implemented the first known building code in the United States.
During the 1950s, meteorologists realized that it was difficult to keep track of unnamed storms—particularly if there was more than one storm happening at any given time. By 1953, meteorologists around the United States were using names for tropical storms and cyclones. In those days, the storm names were all female. Both male and female names were used for Northern Pacific storms in 1978, and by 1979, male and female names were being used for Atlantic storms, too.
The World Meteorological Organization is responsible for developing the names for both Northern Pacific and Atlantic storms. They use six lists of names for Atlantic Ocean and Eastern North Pacific storms. These lists rotate, one each year. That means every six years, the names cycle back around and get reused (which is what’s happening in 2019). If a hurricane does tremendous damage, such as Katrina, Sandy, or Harvey, the name is retired and replaced by a different name beginning with the same letter (After 2018, Florence and Michael are now added to the list of retired names). The names alternate between male and female names, listed alphabetically and in chronological order starting with A and omitting Q and U, X, Y, and Z. If more than 21 names are required during a season, the Greek alphabet is used.