2023 Hurricane Season is here!
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – June 1, 2023 – Hurricane season is upon us and now is the time to make sure your family is prepared in the event of any severe weather conditions.
Beginning June 1 and running through November 30, forecasters at the Colorado State University Tropical Weather and Climate Research Center are calling for a “slightly below-average” Atlantic hurricane season, predicting at least 13 tropical storms, six of which will become hurricanes. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its sustained winds reach 74 mph.
But while forecasting is not an exact science, it is important to keep in mind that just one storm could have a significant impact on homes, property and lives.
That’s why Virginia Natural Gas is providing customers with the following recommended natural gas safety guidelines for use before, during and after a weather emergency:
- DO NOT turn off your gas supply at the main meter. Only Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel should turn the valve on or off.
- Leaving natural gas meters on helps to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within homes or businesses and can prevent water from entering the fuel lines should flooding occur.
- Customers are encouraged to know the location of their natural gas meter.
- Following a weather emergency, customers should ensure the natural gas meter is visible, and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or an underground gas line is exposed, customers should immediately call 911, then call Virginia Natural Gas at 877.572.3342 once they are out of the area of the suspected leak and in a safe place.
- Strong winds and saturated ground could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should contact VA811 to have the location of underground utility lines marked since downed trees could become tangled with natural gas lines.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or a natural gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call 911 from a safe location and the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1.877.572.3342.
Detecting Gas Leaks
- If customers smell the distinctive “rotten-egg” odor associated with natural gas, they should leave the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks.
- Look for blowing dirt, discolored vegetation or continued bubbling in standing water.
- Customers should never try to identify the source of a leak or stop the leak themselves.
- Avoid using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landlines, as natural gas can ignite from a spark, possibly causing a fire or explosion.
- Customers should call 911 once they are in a safe place out of the area of the suspected leak and the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1.877.572.342.
- Generators can be useful after a storm but dangerous if not properly used. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution and fire.
- NEVER use a generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces.
- NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.”
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Or use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads.
- During a power outage, natural gas generators provide continuous fuel supply from an existing natural gas line. While these units are available in a range of sizes to meet various energy needs, customers are encouraged to contact Virginia Natural Gas before purchase and installation to determine whether their service line and existing meter meet load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.
- Your personal safety is the most important thing before, during and after a storm. The Red Cross urges everyone to be prepared before the storm hits. This means having an emergency preparedness kit that includes among other things, a seven-day supply of medications, copies of important documents such as insurance policies, non-perishable food items and water for two weeks, extra cash, batteries for flashlights and radios, and personal hygiene products. Visit the Ready.gov national preparedness website for more tips.
- Flooding and storm surges are historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States. Know your flood zone and potential risk hazards in your area. Visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website and simply enter your address to “Know Your Zone.”
How to connect with us
During a storm, Virginia Natural Gas communicates information to customers through the news media, our website, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor.
For more information about natural gas safety, visit virginianaturalgas.com/safety.