RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency on Friday in advance of Hurricane Isaias – which is expected to impact parts of coastal Virginia starting on Aug. 3.
“Hurricane Isaias is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,” Northam said. “This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”
A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources and equipment needed for response and recovery efforts.
While the track of Hurricane Isaias is still uncertain, it appears increasingly likely that Virginia could see impacts and therefore must prepare for the possibility of flooding, high winds, and potential storm surge that could come along with a tropical storm or hurricane.
Officials are encouraging Virginians to consult the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 pandemic – which outlines preparedness, response, and recovery actions designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and protect public health.
The Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) is actively monitoring the situation and coordinating resources and information to prepare for this storm. The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) will coordinate preparedness efforts with local, state, and federal officials.
Read the full text of Executive Order 69 here.
Officials are making the following recommendations for Virginians:
- Know your zone: Evacuation may become necessary depending on the track and severity of the storm. Review Virginia’s evacuation zones at KnowYourZoneVA.org.
- It is important to note that the zone colors have been updated for 2020. Users can enter their physical address in the search bar of the website to view and confirm their designated evacuation zone.
- If internet or computer access is not available, call 2-1-1 to learn your zone. Residents not residing in a pre-identified evacuation zone should listen to evacuation orders from local and state emergency agencies to determine if and when to evacuate.
- Make a plan: Virginians residing in eastern and coastal Virginia should consult the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which outlines ways to prepare for both weather and pandemic-related risks.
- Additional planning resources are available at ready.gov/plan.
- Prepare an emergency kit: For a list of recommended emergency supplies to sustain your household before, during, and after the storm visit VAemergency.gov/emergency-kit.
- Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, emergency kits should include face coverings and sanitization supplies.
- Stay informed: Virginians should follow the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for preparedness updates and their local National Weather Service office for the latest weather forecast, advisories, watches, or warnings.
- Download the FEMA app on your smartphone to receive mobile alerts from the National Weather Service.
- Power outages are always a concern during weather events—make sure you have a battery-operated radio available so you can still receive life-saving alerts.
Additional information about preparing for hurricanes during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.