RICHMOND, Va. -- A day after Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence's potential impact later this week, state officials urged Virginians to start preparing for what they said could be the state's "most significant hurricane event in decades."
"While it is too soon to know the exact track that Hurricane Florence will take, the majority of forecast models are indicating significant potential impacts to Virginia in the form of coastal storm surge, catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages," officials said in a news release Sunday evening.
As Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) teams worked throughout the weekend readying for the storm, officials warned Virginians to consider the potential impacts and life-threatening conditions.
Accordingly, authorities stressed that now is the time for folks to make a kit, create a plan and stay up-to-date on the forecast.
From a news release from the Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam:
It’s Not the Winds, It’s the Water
The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds. Flooding is the deadliest result of these storms.
Current forecast models indicate that Florence could strike the Carolinas and enter Central Virginia, possibly stalling and dropping more than 20 inches of rain in some areas. This will lead to widespread and dangerous flooding, inundation of roads and damaged infrastructure. Potential widespread power outages are also expected.
Citizens should prepare for rising waters, flash flooding, and remember to never drive across flooded roadways. Most injuries and deaths occur when motorists try to cross flooded roads. Roads and bridges can be damaged or completely washed away beneath flood waters, and a few inches of water can sweep vehicles downstream. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.
Coastal Virginia Threats and Potential Evacuations
Some forecast models are indicating a possible strike more directly on the Hampton Roads region and Coastal Virginia. If this track becomes a reality, Coastal Virginians can expect significant flooding, damaging winds and storm surge flooding throughout the region. If the storm moves on a coastal track, it would require the Commonwealth to enact its tiered evacuation plan, commonly known as Know Your Zone.
Residents in Coastal Virginia, especially those in evacuation zones A and B, should begin preparing for potential evacuation. An evacuation decision will be made Monday, September 10. If ordered, instructions about evacuation will be communicated via social media, television, radio, newspapers, and through local and state emergency management websites.
Citizens should make necessary preparations now to evacuate to higher ground, starting with knowing in which zone your home and business are located. You can type in your address at http://www.KnowYourZoneVA.org to find out your designated zone. Resources are also available on the Know Your Zone website to learn more about the program, what to plan for and expect in the event of an evacuation, and how to ensure you are ready once you receive evacuation instructions.
Once you Know Your Zone, you should stay tuned to local media for detailed instructions from your local emergency manager about where to go, available shelters and evacuation routes, and when you will be able to return to your home.
Have questions about Know Your Zone? Learn more here.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late to Prepare
With the onset of tropical storm force winds and rain only a couple of days away, the time to prepare is now. Get your home, business and family ready for whatever impacts this storm may bring. Hurricane season lasts through November 30, so more storms may target Virginia this year.
Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for complete coverage of Florence. Click here to track the storm with the CBS 6 Interactive Hurricane Tracker.