Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Guide

Hurricanes are large cyclonic storms which usually develop over warm waters near the equator during the summer and fall. Hurricanes are storms having sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. Hurricane season is officially June 1 through November 30, however, the peak threat for the United States is August through October. With each storm comes the threat of wind damage as well as storm surges, flooding, rip currents and tornadoes. The front right section of the storm path is typically where most of the damage occurs.

Hurricane effects

Storm surge and storm tide can cause tremendous damage. Storm surge is a huge amount of water often 50-100 miles wide that comes across the coastline where a hurricane makes landfall. Storm surge is affected by the depth of the offshore water. During a hurricane, the shallower the water, the higher the storm surge. Storm tide is the combination of normal tide in addition to the storm surge.

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from the shore, extend from the shoreline through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves.

Tornadoes can form during a hurricane. They can also form for days after the hurricane has made landfall.

Flooding is a tremendous risk on the Eastern Shore of Virginia during hurricanes. In addition to storm surge and tides, inland flooding is a certain risk factor compounded by heavy rainfall.

Make an Emergency Supply Kit

As with any major weather event residents are asked to gather the following items in the event of extended loss of power and access to commercial business.

  • Bottled water (one gallon per person, per day) for 3 to 7 days
  • Nonperishable canned or packaged food for 3 to 7 days
  • Blankets / sleeping bags
  • Stock a first aid kit
  • A non-electric can opener
  • A corded telephone
  • Toiletries and other personal hygiene products
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
  • Battery operated radio and a NOAA weather radio
  • Basic tool set
  • Cash (Banks and/or ATMs may not be open)
  • A corded telephone
  • Pet supplies
  • All vehicles fully fueled
  • Important documents, including your pet's information

In the event you are asked to evacuate, have a plan and notification numbers on hand for someone out of the area to keep in contact with. Include these items in your emergency kit:

  • Keys (extra set to home and vehicles)
  • Toys, books and games to keep busy
  • Bedding, blankets and pillows
  • Clothing, including rain gear and boots

Source: Eastern Shore Disaster Preparedness Coalition

                       Advisory                                                  Definition

Tropical Storm Watch Wind speeds of 39-73 mph are possible within 48 hours
Tropical Storm Warning Wind speeds of 39-73 mph are expected within 36 hours
Hurricane Watch Wind speeds of 74+ mph are possible within 48 hours
Hurricane Warning Wind speeds of 74+ mph are expected within 36 hours


Hurricane Categories


Category Wind Speed
1 74-95 mph
2 96-110 mph
3 111-129 mph
4 130-156 mph
5 157+ mph