Hurricane Preparation

The City's top priority is to assure the safety of everyone during potentially dangerous weather, and encourages residents to make preparations for their homes and families.

Page updated on May 18, 2018 at 3:16 PM
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Hurricane Preparation

On September 18, 2003, Alexandria suffered more than $2 million in damage from Hurricane Isabel, so the impacts of a hurricane are well known.

Being prepared for any emergency requires planning. If you are able to stay at home, electricity, water, heat, air conditioning, telephone service and transportation could be disrupted or lost for some time. Emergency management planners suggest having food, water, medications and other essentials on hand to last your family for three to five days.  Learn more about how to prepare your emergency kit, develop an emergency plan, and stay informed during a hurricane emergency.

Understanding Storm Messages

Listening to the weather forecast, it is important to understand the meaning of watches and warnings.

  • HURRICANE WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible , usually within 36 hours.
  • HURRICANE WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected, usually within 24 hours.
  • SHORT TERM WATCHES AND WARNINGS: provide detailed information on specific hurricane threats, such as tornadoes, floods, and high winds.

During a Watch

  • Listen to radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins of the storm's progress.
  • Updates about City services and programs will be posted on the City's web site and sent to the media for broadcast.
  • Fuel and service vehicles.
  • Prepare to bring lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects inside.

During a Warning

  • Closely monitor radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if told to do so!
  • Turn the refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary.
  • Fill bathtub and large containers with water for sanitary purposes.
  • If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors. Go to an interior first-floor room such as a bathroom or closet. Close all interior doors and brace external doors.

Additional Hurricane Preparation Tips

  • Meet with neighbors to plan how the neighborhood can work together.
  • Identify the elderly and disabled who may need help with transportation and medical concerns.
  • Keep a first aid kit, medications, eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries on hand.
  • Teach children how to reach family members in case they become separated during a storm.
  • Discuss how to dial emergency numbers and practicing escape routes from all rooms with your children. The emergency number for fire, police, and ambulance in Alexandria is 911.

Important Links

  • Flooding Information: Alexandria’s low elevation and its proximity to the Potomac River make it susceptible to flooding. City residents should plan for flooding as part of their emergency preparedness planning.
  • Post Storm Cleanup: Hurricanes can leave behind downed trees and debris throughout the City. Find out how to clean up after the storm.
  • Health Concerns: After a storm has passed, failure to remove contaminated materials from your home can cause health risks; debris and flood waters can cause illness and injuries. Learn important measures for cleaning up.
  • Food & Water Concerns: Recommendations for keeping water and food safe during a disaster
  • A Guide for Consumers: proper food and water safety precautions in the event of flooding and/or power outages.
  • Protect Yourself from Animal and Insect Related Hazards After a Natural Disaster 
  • Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide: Planning and preparing before a hurricane can help you manage the impact of high winds and floodwaters. Follow this step-by-step guide to keep you and your family safe while protecting your home and property. 
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