What Virginians need to prepare for as hurricane season starts

NORFOLK, Va. - June 1st kicks off Hurricane season.

Local emergency management officials say there are two big things to stay on top of: your evacuation route and disaster kits.

If you don’t know your zone or evacuation route, officials said it something you need to learn as soon as possible because when it’s time to go you need to move quickly.

“By the time we get to B, A should be out of the way,” Portsmouth Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator Justin Arnold said.

Take a look at this map.

It’s colored coded with the four hurricane evacuation zones.

“We wanted to maintain an easy process, an efficient process. Doesn’t get any easier than A,B,C and D that’s color coded. We call your zone, go to the quickest route out of town,” Arnold explained.

Though we’ve seen the destruction from a number of hurricanes during the season, Arnold said luckily they haven’t had major evacuations recently.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management introduced “know your zone” a few years ago.

“I think storms of the past from Florida and other coastal communities, they’re gridlocked on the state of 'yeah, let’s get everybody evacuate to the interstate and we’ll sit there for hours and hours and hours.' That doesn’t give anybody a comfortable feeling,” Arnold mentioned.

If there isn’t a mandatory evacuation and you choose to ride out the storm, make sure you have a disaster kit.

Arnold told News  3 they "recommend that you at least self-sufficient for 72 hours".

Some items include non-perishable foods, water, a flashlight, and batteries.

Most times people lose power and their neighborhoods fill with standing water.

“Our focus is going to be on life safety and getting our fire and police personnel in those places to assist, we might not have that opportunity," the deputy coordinator said.

Officials say get your kit ready now.

Many agencies across Hampton Roads said most of the items are inexpensive and will be hard to find once a Hurricane hits.