CORRECTION: The article has been updated to accurately reflect the severity of the forecasted hurricane season.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – It’s that time of year again! Hurricane season is upon us.

Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) hosted a kick-off event Wednesday for the beginning of hurricane season on June 1.

The department says that a natural disaster like a hurricane can happen anywhere and that the commonwealth is no exception, so it’s always best to be prepared. Before storms set in, VDEM wants people to stay ready so they don’t have to get ready.

“We, in fact, have a basic theme — run from water, hide from wind,” Youngkin said, echoing the message of Wednesday’s event. The governor went on to say that hurricane season is nothing to play with.

According to VDEM, recent years have proven that hurricanes are more than a coastal threat.

“And if you look at the history of Virginia, we have faced catastrophic hurricanes and we want to be prepared so we can protect all Virginians and keep them safe,” said Shawn Talmadge, the state coordinator of Emergency Management for VDEM.

Talmadge said the purpose of Wednesday’s event is to encourage people across the commonwealth to take the time to prepare.

“So, what is your plan for three days in the event of a catastrophic emergency that you can take care of yourself?” questioned Talmadge. “That’s about three days of food [and] water. Make sure you have your medicine.”

Talmadge said that it’s not just families that need to be ready for disaster, explaining that VDEM has been focusing on specific areas to improve Virginia’s disaster response.  

“We’re trying to identify opportunities to make a better sheltering system,” said Talmadge. “And another big thing over the last 12 months that we’ve been doing is we’ve been really aggressive in our search and rescue program.”

Talmadge added that VDEM has been training for hurricane response at the state level and are prepared to respond to whatever comes our way.

“We’ve had a dozen and dozens of events and planning efforts and training exercises to include search and rescue capabilities using helicopters, boats, trucks and sheltering exercises so we can make sure that our localities in the state are prepared to shelter folks,” Talmadge said.  “And so, every year we take this season very seriously and it’s really a threat thing and only takes one.”