Prepare for a virtual hurricane on Thursday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

When the first hurricane of the season threatens, do you have all the information you need to weather the storm?

If not, you’ll be able to get some answers from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday during the Virginia Department of Transportation’s online hurricane forum.

Residents will be able to submit questions relating to hurricane events to experts in the transportation and emergency management fields, said Tiffany Elliott, a VDOT spokeswoman. Experts from VDOT, as well as the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, and the Virginia State Police will answer questions during this live Internet broadcast.

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Residents can submit questions by logging on to

and clicking on the &uot;ASK the experts&uot; link to access the forum, submit questions, and review information about hurricane evacuation routes.

Capt. Jim Judkins, the city’s emergency services coordinator, encouraged residents to take time to participate in the event.

&uot;Knowledge is key to hurricane preparedness,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;People tend to get lax in that area…you can’t wait till the storm is breathing down your neck to get ready for it.

&uot;This is a good opportunity for folks to ask questions of state experts.&uot;

Although hurricane season officially began last month, it tends to be strongest in Hampton Roads during September and October, Judkins said.

VDOT’s main role is get the roads open as quickly and safely as possible after a hurricane, Elliott said. Other responsibilities include:

-Setting up traffic control and detours; assisting with traffic control for evacuations.

-Removing debris and branches from roadways and coordinating clean-up with other entities, such as power companies.

-Making emergency repairs to damaged roads and bridges.

-Assessing damages and providing emergency engineering services.

-Coordinating long-term recovery to restore transportation infrastructure.

-Providing emergency plans and procedures.

-Providing back-up communications to support emergency response and recovery operations.

-Communicating road condition information to the public.