Local / Virginia

Virginians advised to finalize preparations for Hurricane Dorian and take shelter

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam advised Virginians today, Sept. 5, to finalize their preparations and take shelter as Hurricane Dorian impacts Virginia overnight tonight and throughout Friday. Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) officials and partners have worked since last week preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in southeastern and coastal Virginia. Virginians in coastal areas should listen to local officials for information on potential evacuations.

“Hurricane Dorian remains a powerful storm that has already caused loss of life and serious damage in the Bahamas, Florida, and the Carolinas,” said Governor Northam. “Tropical storm force winds, storm surge, heavy rains, and flooding from this hurricane will impact much of eastern Virginia overnight and tomorrow. Now is the time for all Virginians, especially those in our coastal regions, to finalize their preparations, listen to local emergency managers, and take shelter before the storm reaches our Commonwealth.”

Governor Northam declared a state of emergency on Monday in order to mobilize personnel and resources for storm impacts, and to speed the response to those communities that sustain damage from the storm. This includes resources from VDEM, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard, and others.

The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated at 8 a.m. on Monday, September 2. Federal, state, and local officials have been working together to coordinate prepare for, and respond to, the effects of Hurricane Dorian. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team of 25 people to the Virginia EOC on September 4 to help coordinate state and federal assistance to localities.

Virginia has also been providing support to southern states and FEMA through a state incident management team, urban search and rescue teams and emergency management assistance compact support.

Virginia State Police, the Virginia National Guard, and the Virginia Department of Transportation have been preparing equipment and pre-positioning resources and personnel. Both VDEM and FEMA have deployed staff to local emergency operations centers throughout coastal Virginia to coordinate federal, state and local communication efforts and resource needs.

Virginians should visit VAemergency.gov/hurricanes for information about how to complete preparations for the storm.

Hurricane Dorian

At 10 a.m., Hurricane Dorian had sustained winds of 115 mph and was a Category 3 hurricane moving at 8 mph north, northeast, off the coast of South Carolina.

Coastal Virginians can expect the heaviest rains and tropical storm force winds to arrive late this evening, overnight Thursday, and early Friday morning. Possible impacts from the storm include coastal and tidal flooding, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, damaging winds, and prolonged power outages.

Rainfall amounts could be as high as eight to 10 inches for extreme southeastern Virginia Thursday night and Friday morning. A Flash Flood Watch is currently in place for parts of the Hampton Roads region including the Southside, the Peninsula, and the Eastern Shore. A Flash Flood Watch is used when conditions are favorable for flooding.

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for much of eastern Virginia including Hampton Roads. A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for portions of eastern Virginia. A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm conditions, with sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph, are expected in your area within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions, with sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph, are possible in your area within 48 hours.

Virginians should follow the National Weather Service Wakefield on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates on watches and warnings. Download the FEMA app on your smartphone to receive mobile alerts from the National Weather Service including advisories, watches, and warnings.

Preparedness Recommendations

Virginians, especially those located in eastern and coastal Virginia, need to finalize all preparedness efforts and prior to tropical force winds arriving in the Commonwealth. At that point, all residents experiencing impacts from Hurricane Dorian should shelter in place and stay off roadways for their safety and the safety of first responders. State agencies, emergency management partners, and localities will be closely monitoring conditions that may require the suspension or closure of storm-impacted tunnels, bridges, and ferry services.

Virginias should follow Virginia Department of Transportation accounts on Twitter, @VaDOT, @VaDOTHR and @VaDOTFRED, or on Facebook for information about facility closures. For real-time road conditions, call 5-1-1 or go to 511virginia.org.

Coastal Virginians living in flood prone areas and those who saw flooding during past storms including Hurricane’s Matthew or Sandy, have a high probability of experiencing flooding from Hurricane Dorian based on precipitation and tidal modeling.

Residents of coastal Virginia should know their local flood risks and what actions are most appropriate for them to take in advance of Hurricane Dorian, including whether they should move to higher ground within their community. Citizens should listen to local officials for any additional instructions and recommendations. For flood preparedness information and resources visit VAemergency.gov/floods.

For those Virginians who depend on electricity for medical equipment and charging of communication devices, ensure all batteries are fully charged throughout the day and purchase extra batteries or alternative charging devices before the storm.

Residents in the region should purchase any final emergency supplies they need to sustain their family during and after the storm by this evening. For a recommended list of supplies visit VAemergency.gov/supply-kit.

Follow your local government officials on social media and listen to local media, TV, or radio for frequent updates.

Businesses, organizations, and families should visit KnowYourZoneVA.org and VAemergency.gov/make-a-plan for additional resources and additional information about preparing for possible impacts from Hurricane Dorian.