Tomorrow marks the start of the 2019 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1st through November 30th annually. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a near-normal hurricane season this year, but "It only takes one storm for our area to experience a significant impact," states Brian Misner, Emergency Management Coordinator. "Personal preparedness is important year-round; however, there are some additional steps that you can take to protect your family and property before a storm threatens our region."
The County offers the following safety tips in preparation for hurricane season:
Prepare your home
- Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
- Create an updated household inventory; use a smartphone or digital camera to take photos or video of valuable items and your home's condition inside and out.
- Consider purchasing homeowner's insurance for wind damage and flood insurance if you live in a floodplain.
Prepare your family
- Put together an emergency kit, with basic living essentials to survive on your own for 72 hours after a disaster; for a list, visit www.pwcgov.org/buildakit
- Make an emergency plan for your family that includes a family meeting place and information on how you'll reconnect if separated, at www.pwcgov.org/buildakit
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) now issues watch and warning graphics to communicate the danger of storm surge, separate from other watches and warnings that indicate the forecasted arrival of tropical storm or hurricane-force winds. Storm Surge is life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline. Storm Surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone, and it does not always occur at the same times or locations as a storm's hazardous winds.
Prince William County's Office of Emergency Management has added a new storm surge resource on their Emergency Information page: https://emergency.pwcgov.org/flooding. County residents can use the interactive tool to see if their property is in a federally designated floodplain or Virginia Storm Surge Zone.
To learn more about the hazards associated with a Hurricane, visit the NHC website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/hazards.php. For more information about emergency preparedness in the County, please visit www.pwcgov.org/ready.