Florence is coming and you’re wondering if you should evacuate?
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency over the weekend, freeing up money and resources for the storm effort. His office also said in a news release that residents in coastal Virginia should start preparing for potential evacuation, “especially those in evacuation zones A and B.”
What does that mean again?
In case you’ve forgotten, the state rolled out a new system last year called “Know Your Zone.” It divvies up our area into four zones using detailed map forecasting down to each block in a neighborhood.
The zones, designated A through D, aim to provide residents a better understanding of what to do based on the nature of the disaster. Avoiding unnecessary evacuation travel will reduce traffic congestion, promote highway safety and lessen overcrowding at storm shelters, state officials say.
As a storm approaches, local officials plan to instruct people what to do based on their zone – anything from moving nearby to higher ground or getting out of town. The color scheme reflects the same color coding system the National Hurricane Center uses.
Zone A includes addresses most at risk and is blue on the map. Zone B is green; Zone C is yellow; Zone D includes addresses least at risk and is red.
Click here to access the map and type in your address to find out which zone you live in. People without internet access are urged to contact their local emergency managers or call 211.
Some addresses in higher ground won’t have a zone at all, meaning you are not expected to be evacuated in any of the identified storm scenarios. Many addresses border on two zones, so emergency managers say to do what makes you most comfortable.
Different hurricanes can bring vastly different impacts, depending on tides, storm intensity, path and other meteorological factors.
You can read an FAQ and learn more about the plan at KnowYourZoneVA.org.