RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- With the end of the month of November, so too ends the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Virginia did not take a direct hit from any of the storms that did hit the United States and various Atlantic islands, but the Commonwealth did send manpower and resources to help those who were impacted.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management says this hurricane season saw 17 named storms, ten of which became hurricanes and six of those were major hurricanes.
The National Hurricane Center says these storms claimed 438 lives and caused $369.6 billion in damage, making this a historic hurricane season and the worst since 2005, which was the most active in recorded history and caused the devastation along the Gulf Coast from Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
"While the Commonwealth was fortunate this year to avoid any major tropical weather system devastation as was seen in other parts of our great nation, it is only a matter of time until we find ourselves in the path of a major hurricane," said VDEM State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. "Virginians must never let down our guard as we prepare for hurricane impacts here and home, and we must provide expertise, manpower and equipment downrange to those regions devastated by this year's historic storm season. When Virginia is impacted in the future, we will need other states' help in the same way."
This year, major changes were made to Virginia's storm preparedness and response programs.
According to a release, Virginia enacted its largest step forward in hurricane preparedness and storm response planning in the spring.
This includes a new, tiered evacuation program for coastal areas of the Commonwealth designed to enhance evacuation plans, boost public safety and improve travel efficiency in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster.
This program is called Know Your Zone and covers 23 localities along the coast, from Hampton Roads to the Eastern Shore, which is the most vulnerable to hurricanes and other tropical storms.
It will streamline the evacuation process by providing information to citizens based on their individual street address.
Virginia also is continuing to support the recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
VDEM officials are coordinating with local emergency management leaders and FEMA to volunteer Virginia resources to help in the long-term recovery of those areas.
Among those resources has been law enforcement officers from several jurisdictions, disaster response sheltering for National Guard personnel, a Spanish-language logistics officer, a bi-lingual recovery officer, hundreds of Virginia National Guard soldiers, an Incident Management Team, Virginia Strike Team 6, the Virginia Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 and 2, the Virginia Department of Forestry incident management team, National Guard helicopters, and much more.
For more information on Know Your Zone, flood insurance, and helping the victims of natural disasters, click on the links in the Related Links box.