Governor announces new hurricane evacuation zone plan in Hampton

(Photo: @TerryMcAuliffe/Twitter)

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Terry McAuliffe was in Hampton to unveil the Commonwealth’s new, tiered hurricane evacuation system on Thursday — the first day of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s when Virginia will be in the eye of a major hurricane,” McAuliffe said.

WAVY.com Hurricane Coverage | 2017 Hurricane Guide

Officials worked with a global engineering firm, emergency managers, police and fire in Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore and the peninsulas to develop the zones. They used “surge zone” maps as well as other criteria to determine whether a property should be in zone A (generally the most at risk), zone B, zone C or zone D.

The Department of Emergency Management says the new zones provide residents with a better understanding of whether they should evacuate or shelter at home.

Recent evacuations had concentrated on the lowest-lying areas, previously called Surge Zone 1, which were colored red on city maps. Now, there is a larger number of homes in the highest-risk zone.

The new evacuation zones include about 1.25 million people living in the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach and the counties of Accomack, Essex, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Richmond, Surry, Westmoreland and York as well as the town of Chincoteague.

Find your zone online here. If you don’t have access to the web, you can call 311 (757-727-8311 from a cell phone or from outside the City of Hampton) to find out which zone you’re in.