PORTSMOUTH, Va. − Coast Guard Sector Virginia urges the public to exercise caution as the region is impacted by significant weather from Hurricane Idalia, Thursday.
Coast Guard Sector Virginia personnel are closely monitoring the weather. If forecasted predictions change, the captain of the port will evaluate if port condition restrictions are necessary.
Gale force winds are expected to arrive Thursday evening and remain through Friday. Sustained northeast winds between 34-40 mph are anticipated at Cape Henry, Cape Charles, and the Chesapeake Bay with possible gusts as high as 51 mph, resulting in hazardous marine conditions. Eight-foot seas offshore are expected Thursday through Friday. These conditions create life-threatening beach hazards, including dangerous rip currents and large battering waves.
“Hurricane Idalia will create dangerous conditions,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “The Coast Guard and our partners will be challenged to rescue people in distress when the conditions are worse. Think twice before you go on the water, whether surfing, kiteboarding, or boating, and if you do, monitor trusted weather sources, know your limits, and plan for emergencies.”
In preparation for Hurricane Idalia, the Coast Guard recommends the following safety and preparedness tips:
- Stay clear of beaches: High surf and strong rip currents will occur as the storm passes. Do not enter until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials say the water is safe.
- Stay off the water: When a storm strengthens, Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade. As a result, help may be delayed. Boaters are recommended to follow weather watches, warnings, and small craft advisories.
- Secure belongings: Boatowners should verify moorings, secure loose equipment, and store trailer-able boats (including kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle craft) in a place not susceptible to flooding.
- Stay informed: Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. The public should monitor the storm through local television, radio, and Internet.
For the latest forecast advisories and weather updates for Hurricane Idalia, visit: National Hurricane Center (noaa.gov)