Average temperatures in the summer months hover around a humid 77 degrees. Average fall temperatures are approximately 62 degrees. In the winter, Hampton Roads receives an average of 10.37 inches of precipitation, with an average temperature of 42.1 degrees. In the spring, warm and humid conditions return, with average temperatures of 57.5 degrees.
Flash flooding, especially during hurricane season, is a possibility in Virginia. A flash flood watch is issued when flash flooding is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended. A flash flood warning is issued for life- and property-threatening flooding that will occur within six hours. During a flash flood watch or warning, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for further weather information.
If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through any floodwaters — even water six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. The majority of deaths in a flash flood occur when people drive through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. Water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.
Hurricanes in Virginia are rare, as most tropical storms weaken as they reach the cooler coastal waters and western winds in the north. However, heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes from hurricanes can be a problem. In 2011, Hurricane Irene caused more than $360 million in damages in Virginia. It also was responsible for one of the largest power outages in Virginia history, with as many as 2.5 million people experiencing blackouts.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends
Nov. 30. It is important to have a plan in place to prepare for these hazards. To learn more about the dangers of hurricanes and hurricane preparedness in Virginia, go to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
website at www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes.
Virginia is subject to severe thunderstorms, especially during hurricane season. A thunderstorm can knock out power and bring high winds, lightning and flash flooding. Pay close attention to storm warnings and always follow the instructions of local officials. Head indoors when thunder and lightning hits, avoiding electrical appliances and plumbing
fixtures. Unplug desktop computers and other electronics, or use a surge protector. The National Weather Service recommends
following the 30/30 Rule, which states that people should seek shelter if the “flash-to-bang” delay (length in time in seconds from the sight of the lightning to the arrival of thunder) is 30 seconds or less and should remain under cover for 30 minutes after
the final thunder clap. For more information, visit the National Weather Service at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Over the past decade, Virginia has had an average of 24 tornadoes per year. Tornadoes can develop quickly, with minimal warning, so it is important to have a plan in place before they occur. If a tornado watch is issued, weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, such as during a severe thunderstorm. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately during a tornado warning.
Know where the safest place of shelter is in your home — a basement, or an inside room on the lowest floor (like a closet or bathroom) if your home does not have a basement. Avoid windows and get under something sturdy, like a heavy table, and cover your body with a blanket or mattress to protect yourself from flying debris.
For more information on tornado preparedness, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes.
Hampton Roads occasionally experiences severe winter weather, so prepare for winter storms by assembling a disaster supply kit for your home and vehicle. Have your car winterized before the winter storm season arrives. Listen to weather forecasts and plan ahead.
A winter storm watch means a winter storm is possible in your area. A winter storm warning means one is headed for your area. A blizzard warning means strong winds, blinding snow and dangerous wind chills are expected. Avoid travel during these watches and warnings.
Winter storms can cause power outages. During a power outage, gather in a central room with an alternative heat source like a fireplace. Be sure to keep a screen around an open flame and don’t close the damper while the ashes are still hot.
During the day, open drapes and blinds to
let the sun warm the space. Close them at
night to minimize heat loss. If the indoor
temperature drops below 55 degrees, open faucets slightly so they constantly drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
For more information on winter preparedness, visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/winter.