NORFOLK, Va. — An above-average hurricane season has experts warning people to prepare as soon as possible.
“All it takes is one [storm] to ruin your season,” said Dr. Jessica Whitehead, the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director of the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience at Old Dominion University.
Whitehead said a big storm is bound to happen soon and experts are predicting multiple hurricanes this season.
“NOAA is looking to have 14 to 21 named storms,” Whitehead said.
Leaders with NOAA also anticipate six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes. Whitehead said it’s not often for Hampton Roads to see a direct landfall. In fact, the last direct landfall was in the 1850s.
She said that doesn’t mean we won’t see any damage. Though, supply chain issues and frequent disasters are stretching officials thin.
“Beyond Hampton Roads, we’re seeing a larger number of billion-dollar weather disasters every year," she said. "All over the country, the disaster recovery system is very stressed trying to get these materials in.”
That’s why Whitehead is stressing the importance of getting you and your family ready now for what could come our way.
“Hurricanes can happen anytime in the season but September, October tend to be the biggest time for us," Whitehead said. "So that’s a good three months. To start putting together a disaster kit.”
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Whitehead encouraged people to slowly begin to stock up on water and non-perishables. Also, think about a place to shelter if a storm hits the area.
"With COVID, sheltering has continued to be a challenge. A lot of people are not in a position where they want to go and be overnight in a shelter with folks," she said.
She said if that's the case, find friends and family who are willing to let you stay with them and consider how you plan to get there in the event of a storm.
Virginia Beach city officials have a list of additional steps you can take to make sure your home is hurricane ready.
- Check for any hazardous trees near your home.
- Clean out gutters that could send water into homes and check your roof.
- Check your sump pump to ensure that it is in working order
- Purchase or renew flood insurance.