National Weather Service director visits Roanoke, urges hurricane preparedness

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 7:47 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Director of the National Weather Service joined other federal, state and local officials in Roanoke Thursday morning, urging all Virginians to prepare for peak hurricane season. Ken Graham also announced a new partnership that could speed the delivery of vital information when severe weather threatens the state.

It was a blue sky morning, as federal state and local leaders joined reporters outside the Berglund Center. And though we’re a couple hundred miles from the beach, the message was clear: hurricanes can have a deadly impact anywhere in Virginia.

Shawn Talmadge is State Coordinator of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

“You run from water and you hide from wind, and I’ll say that again. You run from water and you hide from wind,” Talmadge said. “More people die because of flooding than any other issue of a hurricane.”

Erik Hooks is Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“And it only takes one storm to devastate a community” he added.

With severe weather on the rise, and rainfall records falling, it’s becoming more difficult to use the past to tell us what’s likely to come next. But the National Weather Service is finding ways to communicate vital information more quickly. And NWS Director Ken Graham announced the federal agency will assign a meteorologist to work side-by side with Virginia emergency officials.

“We’re going to have somebody in the Virginia Emergency Operations Center for the state, have a weather service person there, to be there 24-by-7, if that’s what it takes in the big events for the state to really get that information out to the public,” Graham told WDBJ7 in an interview. “If we get increased time on the timeline, that gives the public more time to prepare and that saves lives.”

Preparation was also a major focus of Thursday’s event. And we heard several suggestions.

Make an emergency plan, prepare for recovery that could take a week or more, connect with local authorities by signing up for alerts, and review your insurance to make sure you don’t have a gap in coverage.