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Albemarle County Newsroom

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Hurricane Irene Update
8/24/2011

Virginia state agencies are in a heightened state of readiness with Hurricane Irene predicted to track up and near the east coast this weekend.  There is constant communication and coordination between the National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Transportation and other agencies.  County emergency officials are closely monitoring the situation as well and have posted hurricane awareness information on the County website at www.albemarle.org.

Irene is a large, wide storm.  People should pay attention to the extent of the storm, not the location of the eye.  The National Weather Service says Virginia could have damaging winds and flooding in low-lying areas beginning Saturday through Sunday. Sustained tropical storm force winds (minimum 39 mph) and possibly hurricane-force winds along the coast are forecast around midday Saturday, August  27.  Winds could last for 24 hours and extend as far west as Brunswick County and as far north as Northumberland County. Current forecast shows Irene off the North Carolina/Virginia coast around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Local residents need to pay attention to Hurricane Irene and be sure their families are prepared.  Set aside three days’ food and water.  Be sure to have a hand-crank or battery-powered radio and extra batteries in case the power is out so you can hear emergency information from local officials.  Most importantly, make a family emergency communications plan.  Get information and a worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov   These preparations are helpful for not just for Hurricane Irene but for any weather-related emergency event.

Prepare for Hurricanes

  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane. 
  • Hurricane Watch: a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor weather-alerting radios and local radio and television news outlets for information. 
  • Hurricane Warning: a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately. 
  • Prepare to secure your property. 
  • Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds. 
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. 
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed. 
  • Make a plan to evacuate in case you are advised to do so. 
  • Lock the door behind you. 
  • Stay out of flood waters, if possible. The water might be contaminated or electrically charged. However, should you find yourself trapped in your vehicle in rising water get out immediately and seek higher ground. 
  • Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution. 
  • Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads might be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water might be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
  • If you are not able to evacuate, make a plan to safely stay where you are.

Know the Road Conditions Before You Leave

  • Know the road conditions before you hit the highways. Visit http://www.511virginia.org or dial 511 from any phone for real-time traffic information and road condition reports. 
  • Or visit http://www.virginiadot.org for the latest road reports or listing of closed roads during a major hurricane or storm event.

Stay Informed

  • Listen to weather-alert radios to stay informed of hurricane watches and warnings. 
  • Also monitor commercial radio, television and the Internet. 
  • Keep in mind that after a hurricane, it could be hours, or even days, before emergency personnel are able to reach you.
  • Hurricane evacuation information: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane_defauLT.asp 

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