The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has designated evacuation zones A through D for the coastal Virginia region which includes Hampton Roads, the Middle Peninsula, Eastern Shore and Northern Neck. In all, 23 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.
The new tiered evacuation zones identify areas vulnerable to flooding with precision that was not available until now. The newest technology and data allows emergency managers to tell residents of coastal Virginia more clearly whether they need to evacuate or shelter-in-place during a storm or other emergency. Evacuation orders could mean making a short trip to higher ground, or traveling to a different region of the state.
When a storm is approaching, emergency managers will determine which zones are most at risk considering the intensity, path, speed, tides, potential storm surge and other meteorological factors. Depending upon these factors, residents of one or more zones may be directed to evacuate.
Emergency managers at the local and state level will work with local media, use social media and other tools to notify residents of impacted zones what they should do to stay safe.
What can you do? KNOW YOUR ZONE!
- Determine your evacuation zone enter your physical address into the Know Your Zone Evacuation Map.
- Follow the news on emergencies or upcoming storms.
- Follow the directions of your local officials. If you are told to evacuate – leave. Remember to take your pets with you.
What if the address for my home or business is not in a designated evacuation zone?
If your address is not located in a designated zone, the good news is you are not expected to be evacuated due to any of the identified storm scenarios.
However, that does not mean you will never have to heed instructions from your local emergency manager for major emergencies. You should still know how to protect your family from potential risks in the Commonwealth and listen closely to emergency communications during any severe weather event or emergency. Conditions can change quickly and emergency managers will provide you the best instructions to stay safe.