NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia has a new plan for dealing with hurricane evacuations that uses a zoned approach to prioritize getting the most vulnerable residents away from major flooding and reducing unnecessary travel.
The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday it's the most significant change in decades to the state's evacuation system, which computer simulations showed was unrealistic.
Jim Redick, Norfolk's Emergency Preparedness and Response director, says the new plan should help prevent over-evacuation.
"If we don't over-evacuate the area, then we'll just get those who really need to go out of the area. But it's still gonna be a cantankerous issue when you have this much population, and this little infrastructure. It's going to be a challenge," said Redick.
The new plan breaks down coastal Virginia into four zones designated A through D. In the event of a hurricane, residents in certain zones may be directed to evacuate, while others could be asked to shelter in place. The state says the plan will reduce traffic, promote highway safety and lessen overcrowding at storm shelters.
Residents can visit a website, call 2-1-1 or contact their local emergency managers to find out their zone.