RICHMOND — 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Friday, but the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), and state, federal, local, private sector and charitable organizations continue to assist Virginian communities impacted from high winds, tornadoes, river, coastal and inland flooding, damaged infrastructure and other aftereffects.

This season hurricanes produced 17 confirmed tornadoes, historic flooding and 10 fatalities in Virginia. 77 localities across the Commonwealth have ongoing active disaster recoveries for 2018. While Virginia continues to coordinate recovery resources for individuals, households, businesses, organizations and communities, the Commonwealth is grateful that Virginia was spared from the catastrophic hurricane devastation produced elsewhere in the country this season.

The Eastern Shore was spared entirely of the first major hurricane to affect the Atlantic seaboard. Despite a mandatory evacuation order from Governor Ralph Northam, Hurricane Florence stayed well to the west as it moved through the mid-Atlantic. However, Michael was not as friendly to our area. Mixing with a cold front as it reached the Eastern Shore, Michael produced strong winds and heavy damage to many areas here locally.

Unfortunately many citizens in neighboring states were not spared from historic impacts this season, and they are now on a long and challenging road to recovery. Virginia deployed resources and safety personnel to North Carolina and South Carolina due to the historic impacts from Hurricane Florence, and Florida as a result of Hurricane Michael, another historic storm. VDEM and the entire Commonwealth are thankful to Virginia’s emergency managers and public safety personnel for their efforts and dedication this hurricane season both in Virginia and during deployments to assist other states.

Each year state, federal and local governments, private sector and non-profits work together to prepare the Commonwealth and its residents for all hazards, including hurricanes. It takes the entire Commonwealth working together year-round to prepare for the annual June 1 to Nov. 30 Atlantic hurricane season. Individuals, households, businesses and organizations must take continual steps to prepare as well.

This holiday season, as we count our blessings and spend time with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers, VDEM asks that you take several steps to prepare for next year’s hurricane season and encourage others to do so. Waiting for a hurricane or another natural or man-made disaster to strike does not keep your family and your financial investments safe. Prevention, protection and mitigation before a disaster makes the response and recovery more sustainable and successful.