Know Your Zone: Virginia Creates New Hurricane Evacuation Zones

A month into the Atlantic hurricane season, the state of Virginia has a new plan in place to direct evacuations if a major storm hits.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has divided Coastal Virginia into four zones (A, B, C, and D). In a storm or other emergency, people living in one or more zones may be directed to evacuate depending on tides, storm intensity, path and other factors.

Emergency managers at the state and local level will work with local media and use social media and other tools to notify residents of impacted zones what they should do to stay safe.

Depending on the emergency, being safe might mean staying at home, a short trip to higher ground, or traveling to a different region of the state.

VDEM says the new tiered evacuation zones are based on new technology that allows emergency managers to predict more clearly whether residents need to evacuate or shelter at home. It's meant to make the evacuation process more streamlined.

Twenty-three localities are participating in the program. They include the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach; counties of Accomack, Essex, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Richmond County, Surry, Westmoreland, York, and the town of Chincoteague.

VDEM is encouraging residents to "Know Your Zone," so you'll be prepared if the call goes out. Click HERE to find out which zone you live in.

Bay Bulletin