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Be Ready, Alexandria! Prepare for Hurricane Season

Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. During Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 5-11, the City of Alexandria urges residents and businesses to be prepared for a potential land-falling storm or hurricane. In 2018, the Atlantic coast saw 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, two of which were ranked Category 3 or above.

Hurricane Preparedness Information and Tips

Making preparations for an emergency now is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, property, and community when there is one. Residents and businesses should find out if they are in an evacuation area; assess their risks; and determine if their property is vulnerable to storm surge, flooding or winds.

  • A family emergency plan will help you decide where to meet if you are separated, how to care for your pets, and secure your home.
  • An emergency communications plan will guide you through organizing important information about the individuals in your household, including phone numbers for utilities, emergency contact information, doctors, and schools to ensure the information is readily available to everyone.
  • A basic emergency kit checklist will help you gather medications, non-perishable food, pet supplies, clothing, tools and safety items, and other items you need in an emergency.

Understanding Tropical Storm and Hurricane Messages

The severity of the message is key to how soon to expect a storm's impact and the level of action you will need to take.

A WATCH means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.

Preparation During a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch:

  • Monitor local radio or television stations for official emergency information and instructions.
  • Review your emergency kit checklist, family emergency plan and emergency communications plan with your household.
  • Make an evacuation plan to use in case you are asked to do so by local officials.
  • Fuel and service vehicles.
  • Make interior and exterior preparations for your property (information is available at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Hurricane Preparation page).

A WARNING means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.

Once a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning is Declared:

  • Closely monitor radio, TV, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (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, and pack your freezer with as much as you can. This will help food stay colder longer.
  • Fill bathtubs 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.

Stay Informed

During any severe weather event, stay informed by monitoring local media for official news and information. The City will also post updates about City services and programs on alexandriava.govand send them to the media for broadcast. Information will also be posted to the City's social media channels. To receive emergency notifications by text or email, subscribe to the City's free Alexandria eNews service at

For more information about hurricane preparedness, including flooding information, food and water safety, post-storm cleanup instructions, a Virginia evacuation guide and more, visit


  1. Build an emergency kit and make a communication plan
  2. Listen to the radio and/or television weather reports
  3. Go to a pre-designated area such as a “safe room” – a small interior windowless room on the lowest level, such as a basement or closet. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  4. Cover your head and neck with your arms or with heavy blankets or pillows.

Read more information today!

Common Messages