Urging emergency preparedness on Camille anniversary

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Monday marks 50 years since Hurricane Camille struck the Commonwealth.

The remains of the tropical storm caused massive inland flooding and mudslides during the overnight hours, killing more than 150 and causing damage across the Commonwealth, some of which is still visible today.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management calls the storm the deadliest natural disaster in Virginia.

The storm dropped about six months worth of rain, some 27 inches, on Nelson County in one night, causing more than 100 bridges, roads and railways to wash away or be damaged.

More than 900 buildings and structures were also damaged or destroyed.

VDEM is encouraging Virginians to use this anniversary as a reminder to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

The state agency says Camille reminds residents that hurricanes are a statewide threat, not just a coastal one.

Individuals, households, businesses and organizations are urged to take continual steps to prepare for the annual Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The peak of the season normally occurs from mid-August to late October.

VDEM says prevention, protection and mitigation before a disaster will make the response and recovery efforts more sustainable and successful.

There are several steps residents can take to prepare for the threats posed by hurricanes and other natural disasters or hazards.

First, property owners can check the flood risk for their property by clicking on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation link in the Related Links box.

Second, most homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so residents are advised to contact the National Flood Insurance Program at (888) 379-9531 or click on the FloodSmart link in the Related Links box.

Insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, so people are urged to take action before there is a threat of a storm.

VDEM also has information on evacuation zones across the state, which can be found at the Know Your Zone page in the Related Links box.

The state agency also suggests stories critical documentation in a safe place and documenting the condition of the property before damages occur. More such tips can be found at the VDEM's hurricane page in the Related Links box.

Residents and business owners can also reach out to their local government offices and the local office of emergency management to get preparedness resources and information appropriate for their area.

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