Hurricane Preparedness Weather Classroom
Even though the Northern Shenandoah Valley isn't near the coast, we can still feel the effects of tropical systems.
This week was the National Weather Service's Hurricane Preparedness Week. Hurricane hazards come in many forms like storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. Since the Northern Shenandoah Valley is landlocked, we don't have to worry about storm surge, but we can be affected by tropical systems.
On June 14, 1972, Agnes began as a disturbance off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. On June 19 Agnes strengthened to a hurricane and made landfall on the Florida Panhandle. The storm moved through Georgia and crossed out into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina. Agnes made another landfall as a strong tropical storm on June 22 near New York City. Despite Agnes making landfall as a hurricane in Florida, the worst effects were felt from the Mid-Atlantic through the Northeast. Flooding rains impacted states from the Carolinas to New York. An average of 6-10 inches of rain fell across the Mid-Atlantic, with some estimates as high as 19 inches. Locally, flooding occurred in tributaries of the Potomac River downstream of the Shenandoah River. Severe flooding occurred from Winchester all the way to Alexandria. According to sources living in Lake Holiday at the time, the runoff from Agnes completely filled the man-made lake over 3 days. Some construction equipment was completely inundated and remains underwater today. Agnes caused 122 deaths in the United States, and it caused $2.1 billion in damage, mainly from flooding.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. If a tropical system impacts the Northern Shenandoah Valley, you can be prepared. Develop a family plan and know if your home is vulnerable to flooding. Create a disaster supply kit with items like bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, flashlights, and batteries. Secure your home and check your insurance policy. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowner's insurance. And finally, have a plan for your pet.